7inch Sunday: The Walkmen – Dance With Your Partner

7inch Sunday is a segment devoted entirely to 7” vinyl and the all-encompassing experience surrounding it. Although most publications cover major releases, the vinyl single is often overlooked and given nothing more than a half-hearted nod of acknowledgement. This weekly feature is a hub for 7” reviews, exploring the B-sides and rarities of artists that may often go unnoticed.

Each Sunday I will review 7” vinyl from artists who venture this extra mile to hold their singles high above the sea of digital releases. I hope to embody the spirit of vinyl while sharing some fantastic music with you, the reader. Let’s get started.

For the twelve years since their inception, The Walkmen have consistently impressed us with carefully-crafted songwriting and vintage instrumentation. Every release – maybe excluding their version of John Lennon and Harry Nilsson’s cover record Pussy Cats – has received rave reviews and even garnered the occasional nod for best album of the respective year. Because of the recent May release of Heaven, it is safely assumed their newest single does not suggest another full-length release in the future. It does, however, give fans the opportunity to have a limited-edition keepsake of two tracks that have only been heard via CMJ’s Soundcloud (see below).

The first track of the single, “Dance With Your Partner,” is best viewed as a three-part work. At first, the song is simply vocalist Hamilton Leithauser singing over a timid, uninvolved guitar accompaniment. It’s a slow-burning two minutes that prep us for listening to the rest of the song – an interlude of sorts. After this comes the full instrumentation that is expected from The Walkmen. Straightforward, but in a way that truly captures the group’s intention to create truly original, yet traditional music. The last section of the song eases into a west coast-inspired guitar part and vocals that are equally calm.

“Vermeer ’65,” the B-side of the single, while not as expansive as the prior track, showcases the group’s playful demeanor. Catchy melodies and guitar-heavy instrumentation ease the song along at an appropriate pace. This exposes The Walkmen’s special gift: they never direct too much attention to themselves. Many groups work tirelessly to attract listeners with contrived selling points and other frivolous quirks, but this outfit is more content presenting their quality music without senseless bells and whistles. It’s both refreshing and appealing, and in the end works entirely to their favor.

Check back next week for a look at Typhoon’s Common Sentiments.

We're looking for writers and editors to join the team. Interested? Apply today!