Friday, January 15, 2010

The Walkmen - Bows and Arrows

part of a cool feature at

Few albums continue to sound as evocative as Bows and Arrows. The follow up to the critic-revered though somewhat scattershot Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me is Gone, it remains the Walkmen's most focused, ambitious and successful work. Its songs are so damn good that not even a cameo appearance on ultra-shitty teen melodrama "The O.C." could ruin "Little House of Savages" and "What's in It for Me."

With most tracks centered on the sights, sounds and desperate dramas of the typical metropolitan city, the album's arrangements complement the lyrics almost flawlessly. "The Rat," with its searing guitars, precise drumming and alternately menacing and vulnerable vocals, rightly garnered most of the attention in 2004, but in hindsight the record's other songs are equally strong. The listener can practically smell the booze and feel the rain-soaked streets in the bar-room laments of "138th Street" and "Hang On, Siobhan," while "No Christmas While I'm Talking" and "New Year's Eve" almost too convincingly depict the type of disillusionment and boredom many of us feel around the holidays.

Initially saddled with comparisons to U2, the Walkmen have since proven those claims largely absurd. It likely won't ever escape from the massive shadow that Funeral cast over 2004, but Bows and Arrows remains as relevant and varied as it did upon its initial release. If the "O.C." couldn't destroy those songs, nothing likely would.

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