Black Hours

With the Walkmen (currently on "extreme hiatus"), Hamilton Leithauser tied rakish, majestic indie rock to Fifties sounds from doo-wop to Sun Records. That stuff is more present than ever on the singer's solo debut, where he's backed by members of Vampire Weekend, the Shins and Fleet Foxes, plus Walkmen guitarist Paul Maroon. Leithauser's voice has traces of Sam Cooke and Steve Perry of Journey as he stretches out on songs like the lachrymose "Self Pity" or the happy skiff le stomp "Alexandra." If his songwriting can be a bit flabby, the deep palette and intimate musicianship sustain a mood of late-night melodrama stretching toward 5 a.m. epiphany.

From The Archives Issue 1210: June 5, 2014