Album Cover
The Walkmen
Bows + Arrows
Record Collection
February 03, 2004


I'm picturing a hung-over stubbly-faced thirty-something hunched over his morning coffee berating his own mulatto reflection in his half-empty mug about whichever lackluster relationship has just come to some unsavory end as I listen to the opening track on The Walkmen's latest release, Bows and Arrows. "What's In It For Me" finds Leithauser musing on unrequited loathing to an organ background and fluttering guitar processions. So I'm thinking, "Oh, Bono teaming up with Joy Division, neat."

As the album progresses I can't help but think this guy sounds more like Melissa Etheridge's screaming than anyone else. (Remember "I Wanna Come Over?") What the hell? The Walkmen stomp onto stronger territory such as "The Rat," a victory in rockedom.

Leithauser finds his most powerful moments on "Little House of Savages" where he sings "Somebody's waiting for me at home/Somebody's waiting for me at home/I should have known" but not quite letting us believe it, or really convincing us that he believes himself at times.

The Walkmen culminate their rock in the mildly slackerish track, "Thinking of a Dream I Had." The song just bleeds onto a floor littered with dirty underwear, empty milk cartons, and year-old newspapers. Really, The Walkmen are asking you to sit on top of laundromat rooftops sipping Kool-Aid and counting blue cars.

The songs are sung with mild indifference to the background of urgent jangly guitars. The pace isn't backspace-key-stuck-erasing-entire-paper urgent but better-get-to-bed-soon urgent that convinces the listener that one might need to pay attention to just what the hell is going on.

What I love about these bands *(cough) New York *(endcough) is that with all their seemingly indifference and disinterest they make their boldest statements. "What everybody knows/Is that's the way it goes" sums up the thematic gestures on Bows and Arrows in "New Years Eve." The whole album shows effort aplenty and the right amount of lethargy to showcase an earnest sense of the heart in the second proper album from the well-fated band. Watch these guys to jump to the very top o' the heap.

Jacob Daley

Track List

  1. What's in It for Me?
  2. The Rat
  3. No Christmas While I'm Talking
  4. Little House of Savages
  5. My Old Man
  6. 138th Street
  7. The North Pole
  8. Hang On, Siobhan
  9. New Year's Eve
  10. Thinking of a Dream I Had
  11. Bows and Arrows