Album Reviews: Bows + Arrows
Listen to Blake & Jake talk about the album's critical reception and their place in the New York scene of the time at the 20:20 mark below.
When Bows + Arrows was released in February 2004, the music world right in the heart of the post-punk revival. Franz Ferdinand had just started their global takeover after releasing their self-titled album in January, and the Killers were building immense buzz before the release of their debut album, Hot Fuss, in June. The Walkmen were in the strange position of being an influence for their contemporaries, while also being compared to them. They navigated the waters well, actively critical acclaim for their work, but not every critic was sold. Eric Carr’s review of the album in Pitchfork was the type of glowing report card that makes mothers happy and scholarship offers starting flooding in. Filled with effusive praise and multiple comparisons to U2, Pitchfork doesn’t hesitate to call the album a masterpiece.
“On such a triumphant album, The Walkmen don't succumb to filler. Each of these songs displays a mastery of craft rarely heard, and while not all strike with the same immediacy of its two unbreakable watersheds, each quickly reveals itself as equally forcible and infectious.”
Over at the AV Club, critic Josh Modell also wasn't shy to heap praise on the album, positively distancing the Walkmen from the work of their New York contemporaries.
Next to The Strokes' stock-still stance, Interpol's gloomy distance, and The Rapture's art-rock scream, The Walkmen's second album,Bows + Arrows, positively exudes warmth and passion.
The folks at Rolling Stone were the only real outliers, with Jon Caramanica falling just short of calling the album a complete snooze fest.
Most retro bands don't improve upon their forebears, but they're not all this lethargic, either