The Walkmen
Bows and Arrows
/record collection; 2004/



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Romantism is not viable. Men try to convince themselves that everything makes sense on this twisted planet, calling out Jesus or Einstein but in the end the only clear thing is that we're surviving among chaos. Love, someone will tell you, makes sense. No it doesn't, you silly little punk. It's nothing but a game, expectations and illusion. Of course I'll play this game again because, as stupid at it is, and even if nothing seems to be worth living for, life goes on. I just find it terribly sad to see how silly the things we cling to are. A fridge, tv shows, a cell phone, records, movies, bills, a phonecall, drugs, internet messages from people you'll never meet. I feel that they're one of the reasons why i'm alive rather than a consequence of my existence. Nobody's free, and everybody's so fucking vulnerable.

Why write about this record then? 

Well, I guess it's still better than drinking. 

The Walkmen released one of the best albums of 2002, Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me is Gone, a subtle record, smooth and laid back. Their sophomore album, Bows and Arrows is tighter and angrier, furious yet still unbelievably nonchalant. Hamilton Leithauser is still the best singer around and now that they've started a fire the Walkmen will become harder and harder to ignore. 

The great thing about this band is that each of their songs is delicately arranged and works separately from the others. The analog sound, vintage instruments, Hamilton Leithauser's voice, the words he chooses and his delivery create a timeless atmosphere. Every song immediately bring along images, I see snapshots of Times Square under the snow, couples dancing in a warmly lit appartment in "New Year's Eve," and I see a dark, wet alley with a door shut down, echoing Leithauser's state of emergency and despair when he shouts "can't you hear me?? I'm calling out your name" in the impressive "The Rat." 

The tongue-in-cheek irony that floated upon Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me Is Gone has not totally disappeared but the band seems to realise that sometimes it's better to stand in the fire than to laugh at it from afar.

Behold, ladies and gents, the first great album of 2004.

-Barbara H

/feb 1st 2004/