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Album Review

Hamilton Leithauser and Rostam – I Had a Dream That You Were Mine

I Had a Dream That You Were Mine is the debut album from the partnership of Hamilton Leithauser and Rostam Batmanglij. Appropriately named Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam, the duo has found a delightful sound together as they venture into solo careers. Leithauser’s band The Walkmen are on an indefinite hiatus, and earlier this year Rostam left his group, the indie darlings Vampire Weekend.

This collection of songs the pair has crafted is perfectly representative of their collective musical personas. Rostam possesses a mastery of the American songbook, as well as a penchant for DIY production techniques. Leithauser’s voice is unique and versatile, shifting through moods and tones with charisma. While his vocals take center stage and give the record direction, it is Rostam’s eclectic palette that is the backbone, expertly molding the arrangements. The two match wits, providing thoughtful counterpoint to one another as they dance through different styles and backdrops.

Together, they’ve woven a musical tapestry that pays homage to the past without getting bogged down in nostalgic overload; the album sounds both vintage and fresh. They use their own modern indie rock lens to contextualize their inherent influence form by-gone eras, neatly blending doo-wop, Americana, traditional folk and baroque pop. Lead single “A 1000 Times” bears a slight resemblance to the American folk lament “500 Miles,” while “Peaceful Morning” sounds like a mashup of the Avett Brothers and Vampire Weekend. “In a Blackout” is a standout track, a glorious and haunting Leonard Cohen-style hymnal.

Hamilton Leithauser and Rostam Batmanglij are both well-traveled musicians. Their collaboration has proved fruitful, with I Had a Dream That You Were Mine delivering a batch of tuneful and timeless compositions. It’s a solid start of a new chapter for two musicians with already long and accomplished careers.

Written by Ian McCuen

Written by Ian McCuen