Bows + Arrows CD – Record Collection/ Warner Bros.

Considering that the worst thing that can be said about Bows + Arrows is that it treads a little too closely to its stellar predecessor, it can now be confirmed that The Walkmen are one of the best bands making music today. Signing to Warner Bros. Records had many cringing in anticipation of an album consisting exclusively of songs trying to replicate the sound of Everyone Who Pretended to Like Us Is Gone’s accessible standout, “We’ve Been Had.” Luckily, that is not the case at all. While The Walkmen have changed little since we last heard from them, Bows + Arrows is far from an exercise in trying to hit previous highs. Rather, this album finds The Walkmen only louder, angrier and further from the mainstream than ever before. Paul Maroon’s trademark piano splashes are harder to find on Bows + Arrows, which only serves to make them all the more endearing. Any space left by the absence of piano is filled with furious and rapid guitar noise that sounds like Galaxie 500 on speed, an organ that buzzes and whistles as if it hasn’t even been dusted since the Fifties, and Hamilton Leithauser’s deranged and wonderful crooning. Bows + Arrows is a rare rock album that is made-up of tremendous songs filled with sincerity but that, in the end, is even greater than the sum of its parts. (Michael Tiernan)



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