It’s always disappointing when you invest £10 of your hard-earned cash/student loan into buying an album on the basis of one single, only to be totally under whelmed with the result. So I feel quite lucky that no cash was handed over in exchange for this record, for the song I had heard previously from The Walkmen is certainly not an indicator of the style chosen for the vast majority of ‘Bows & Arrows’.
Recent single ‘The Rat’ is a searing statement of intent, full of anger and bitterness, in a typical New York garage vein. However, whatever it was that caused such intensity of feeling must have been resolved by the time they got around to recording the rest of the album as it is largely a drab, passionless record full of noisy warbles and tuneless nonsense. Third song ‘No Christmas while I’m talking’ sounds like a drunken tramp singing over a Mogwai record. For four and a half minutes. A lot of this record has an unfinished, hollow sound, and in places the songs really do seem incomplete. Unfortunately it doesn’t really get better until track nine, which is sweet and has soul, even if it still sounds a little lost and confused. However, having struggled through the tuneless void that was the middle tracks, even the most patient of reviewers would not be feeling predisposed to heap praise upon a record. So it is that I have to start nit-picking, and whoever told The Walkmen that a gimmick is more important than good songs should be shot. They’ve clearly spent too long coming up with names and not enough time writing decent songs. It’s a shame, because after hearing ‘The Rat’ it seemed as though The Walkmen might be really exciting. However, a clever band name and some pretentious, overly long song titles does not a classic album make.