Sometimes, the words just won’t come. Hamilton Leithauser experienced the kind of success with 2016’s I Had A Dream That You Were Mine an artist going solo from a band with a big cult following rarely enjoys; it gave him breathing space to record his next outing without pressure, but as he discovered, this didn’t mean it would be any easier.
Working with ex Walkmen bandmate Paul Maroon, the singer created his own home studio called The Struggle Hut, before, having suffered some severe writer’s block over lyrics, a random encounter on a ferry brought about an epiphany; instead of fictional subjects, he would use as inspiration people he knew.
A singular triumph, The Loves of Your Life however comes across as the work of a born raconteur, rather than a man scratching around for inspiration. The charachters are so rich – the sobered chief without true friendship of The Old King, the escapist whose time is up on Here They Come – that, coupled with Leithauser’s protean voice, the whole record feels like it could be better staged on Broadway.
Perhaps all this tells us is that the only rule in life is chance, that only by giving in to things that can’t be controlled is true progress made. The Loves Of Your Life places Hamilton Leithauser closer to the pantheon of great American songwriters than ever before, a bag of bones which he got by on with a little help from his friends.
You can read the full review here.