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Walter Martin

We're All Young Together

(Family Jukebox; US: 13 May 2014; UK: 13 May 2014)

We're All Indie-Rock Parents Together

At its best, the Walkmen’s music captured the thrills and angst of being young. But never did it address the joys and confusions of being very young—say, a toddler. Amply filling that absence—with help from a cast of guests that includes Matt Berninger (The National), Karen O (The Yeah Yeah Yeahs), and several of his former bandmates—is We’re All Young Together, the preciously sweet and sweetly precious solo debut from ex-Walkmen bassist/organist Walter Martin.


Martin’s album is the first of several Walkmen solo efforts, and the most unexpected. The cover art, adorned with marching, watercolored animals and balloons, gives no misconception: this is child-friendly folk- and country-pop, with songs about animals, zoos, vacation getaways, and, er, the Beatles. (The chorus celebrates not drug trips or creative squabbling, but Ringo’s mop.) But Martin’s half-hungover vocal tone resembles a more casual and less ambitious Hamilton Leithauser, and he has a knack for the sort of sunny, winking indie-pop the Walkmen mostly steered clear of. The charm is substantial: on “Hey Sister”, his (real-life) sister joins him for a stirringly fun duet on family resemblances; on “We Like the Zoo (‘Cause We’re Animals Too)” he gets Berninger, of all people, to chime in about octopuses and platypuses. It’s a wryly colorful moment straddling the histories of the Walkmen and the National, two of New York’s most unabashedly grown-up-y bands. Sure, We’re All Young Together’s coy naïveté is a put-on, but it’s not too cloying a put-on for this 36-minute, 10-track set.

Rating:

Zach Schonfeld is a writer and former associate editor for PopMatters and a reporter for Newsweek. His writing has also appeared on Rolling Stone, TIME, Consequence of Sound, The Nation, USA Today College, The Rumpus, The Columbia Journalism Review, Paste Magazine, and the Hartford Courant. He can be reached at zschonfeld(at)gmail(dot)com or on Twitter @zzzzaaaacccchhh.


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9 Jun 2014
Joined by special guests including Yeah Yeah Yeah's Karen O. and Nick Zinner, the Walkmen's Walter Martin premiered his solo debut the kid-friendly We're All Young Together.
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