The Walkmen - Bows & Arrows - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

The Walkmen - Bows & Arrows

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:2004-04-26

The Walkmen's Bows + Arrows is the follow up to their debut, Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me is Gone, an album that had more hype than tunes. Thankfully, the second time around, this New York City five-piece seem to be on to a good thing. While any band coming from the New York scene in the wake of the Strokes is bound to be seen as riding their coattails, The Walkmen boast experience that comes from a unique pedigree. Three of them--guitarist Paul Maroon, drummer Matt Barrick and organist Walter Martin--were all members of Jonathan Fire*Eater, one of the greatest bands to come out of NYC in the 1990s (even if few heard of them). And, on Bows and Arrows, the Walkmen seem to have borrowed quite a bit from their bandmates' past, especially on "Little House of Savages", "My Old Man" and "Thinking of a Dream I Had", with their pumping organ and martial drumming. Elsewhere, the rawer, garage-rock sound of "The Rat" shows that these guys know how to rock, while "138th Street" goes to the opposite extreme with a 70s, folk-pop vibe. And like Jonathan Fire*Eater, the whole album has a slightly sinister, seedy quality that seems best-suited to late night hotel bars and motel bedrooms. Bows + Arrows is not only a vast improvement from the Walkmen's debut, it's also a genuinely exciting and atmospheric album. --Robert Burrow

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