The Walkmen

Record review

Phases & Stages

The Walkmen

A Hundred Miles Off (Record Collection)

It's the last night of SXSW 04, and NYC's Walkmen are covering the Kinks' "Come Dancing." A breeze whips through the open-air Eastside warehouse, swirling smoke and ice, the 4am crowd just drunk enough on fourth-day whiskeys to grin in unison. That was months after the release of sophomore LP Bows & Arrows, and now A Hundred Miles Off smacks another bull's-eye. Mariachi trumpets and that familiar lo-fi drone connect on an AM radio frequency as Hamilton Leithauser's crackling vox bounces merrily through opener and pre-Katrina homage "Louisiana." Settling into a drunken stupor, "Danny's at the Wedding," and he doesn't want to leave, and with Matt Barrick's rallying drums on "Emma, Get Me a Lemon," who can blame him? "Lost in Boston" hits a one-two indie-rock punch along with the signature sound of "Don't Get Me Down (Come on Over Here)." The Walkmen haven't changed much since B&A – aside from switching to a D.C. studio and half the band moving to Philly – but they've honed their nervy talent chiseling lines of post-punk history. The Sixties roll of closer "Another One Goes By" is proof: The Walkmen have already logged the Miles.

***.5

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