2016, Music

I Had a Dream That You Were Mine (2016) by Hamilton Leithauser, Rostam

I have never listened to the Walkmen or Vampire Weekend yet here I am listening to an album that is a collaboration of two of their members. I’d ask “How did I get here?” and tell you but you don’t care about that.

The songs are reasonably decent. I remember “1000 Times” more than the others for whatever reason but Leithauser, or whomever is writing the main melodies, has a decent sense of melody. I do suspect it’s a bit of a slow burn and more of the songs would stay with me if I listened to it more. I suspect he did write the lyrics because they do feel confessional sometimes, at least they seem that way.

Leithauser is not a conventional singer and his voice adds some rough edges to what is often, I suspect, immaculately produced even when it doesn’t sound like it. He can sing more conventionally but he absolutely just shouts at times. (Occasionally he sounds like he’s doing a Dylan ripoff. On one track he sounds like he’s impersonating a more country Tom Petty.) I have no idea if he did this with the Walkmen but it absolutely does sound like a rock frontman singing on a record that would be quieter in someone else’s hands.

The arrangements are interesting. It’s very clear they have been made with contemporary technology – especially the drums – but they are often evoking older sounds. Though RYM doesn’t classify this as a roots record there are roots elements assembled in it, blues, folk, country, soul and doo wop. (Funnily enough, RYM does classify this as a doo wop record, which is a laugh.) For me, it’s the combination of the instruments that is the real standout. Some real thought has been put into the sound of these songs, giving them their own sound that absolutely recalls the past but which could not have been made in the past.

I think this is how this kind of record should be made. I do think the songs could be more interesting but the arrangements certainly are kind of fun, even if they are far from the most creative ones I’ve heard in the (pseudo) singer-songwriter context. It’s pretty good.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.