Edge

The Walkmen Bows And Arrows Record Collection

Bows and Arrows works through a fairly impressive sonic gambit that gives the listener exactly what one wants from the music: feeling. While their overall tone is a bit melancholy, most of the tracks turn out fairly energetic, except for the slower ones that create a mood that is quite deliberate. Starting out with the hollow opener, “What’s in it for me?” is a lament-filled scene setter that immediately serves up their trademark organ echoing in the background. While I was a bit worried at first that they were giving us another sleeping pill of an album, all fears were quickly laid to rest in the next track, as I realized the Walkmen are actually talented musicians. “The Rat” is their best piece of work yet, though luckily it doesn’t overshadow the rest of the album; in fact, it just prepares us for what’s in store. It’s an aggressive yet poignant wall of sound, with one of the most clever refrains I’ve heard in a while, one that personally hits right home, as Hamilton Leithauser sings, “Every night I would go out and know everyone I saw, Now I go out alone if I go out at all.”

From that point the album really takes off. “Little House of Savages” and “Thinking of a Dream” use the same driving technique, but not hing is lost or turns monotonous because of the clever wordplay used. “138th St.” is a throwback to Dylan circa Blonde on Blonde and on “The North Pole” they ponder bumping into an old flame stating, “I see you with your new boyfriend…but I know you won’t be seeing him again.” The closer is the title track, “Bows and Arrows,” where with pounding drums, twang in the guitars, and the organ in full effect Leithauser sings, “I take the time to face the day…Nothing’s wrong, take a look around and you’ll see it clearly.”

This album is pure inspiration; the type that can only come from hurt and these songs are filled with the idea that there is a battlefield out there littered with the emotionally wounded. Though while most people end up cowering in their corner of denial, those with soul, “Stand up and say that its alright, because there is time to set things right.”

Ross Whitsett can be contacted at r.whitsett@umiami.edu

February 10, 2004

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