The Walkmen

Bows & Arrows (Record Collection)

SXSW Records

The Walkmen

Bows & Arrows (Record Collection) If Rod Stewart fronted the Stone Roses after a tour with My Bloody Valentine, it wouldn't sound as delirious as the Walkmen on Bows & Arrows. A story of jealousy, anger, betrayal, and forgiveness, B&A is at once exciting and unbelievably personal. Hamilton Leithauser's raspy, panged vocals only strengthen the rhythm set by Jonathan Fire*Eater's brilliant Matt Barrick. This is not an album to fall asleep to – it's an album to live by. Opener "What's in It for Me," orchestrated by Barrick's fellow Eater Walter Martin, is a wall of organs, which sets the tone for the album to come. Frustrations exasperate the angst of "The Rat," scolding and blaming for all of the wrongs done in any relationship. "You've got a nerve to be asking a favor," screams Leithauser. In a heartbeat his mood swings with "No Christmas While I'm Talking," lulling waves of calming distortion. The anger returns in "Little House of Savages," machine-gun drumming battling droning guitars. Tom Waits informs the hopeless "Hang on, Siobhan," while John Lennon visits "New Year's Eve," every track a new piece of the puzzle. Emerging from the hot and ambitious NYC garage scene, the Walkmen have something the Strokes and Yeah Yeah Yeahs are lacking: passion. This is real music without pretension or lies. (Thursday, March 18, midnight @ Exodus)

***.5

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