The Walkmen have been solidifying their position as one of the most important bands in the alternative music community with their previous releases, "Everyone Who Pretended To Like Me Is Gone" and "Bows And Arrows". Extens... more »ive touring, media prominence, critical acclaim, national modern rock radio airplay, and TV performances have helped establish the band in the music community. "A Hundred Miles Off" is their most solid effort yet. "Dylan meets Joy Division" - Uncut. "The dramatic epic sweep, the urgent, chiming guitars, the upright snap of the drums - it's all here" - Bust.« less
The Walkmen have been solidifying their position as one of the most important bands in the alternative music community with their previous releases, "Everyone Who Pretended To Like Me Is Gone" and "Bows And Arrows". Extensive touring, media prominence, critical acclaim, national modern rock radio airplay, and TV performances have helped establish the band in the music community. "A Hundred Miles Off" is their most solid effort yet. "Dylan meets Joy Division" - Uncut. "The dramatic epic sweep, the urgent, chiming guitars, the upright snap of the drums - it's all here" - Bust.
The Last Person You'd Expect | Seattle, WA United States | 06/02/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"So, the first of the Walkmen's albums to completely capture my interest is also their first to be near-universally panned by critics. Maybe its me who is backwards, or maybe these critics were hasty in searching for more of the powerful refrains of Bows and Arrows. It's interesting that those who drew comparisons between Dylan's voice and the lead-Walkmen's didn't take the analogy further. Dylan put his emphasis on content and his ardent vocal-styling was drawn from the passion of personal experience-- and not so much 'emoting' as 'expressing'. In this regard, the Walkmen have raised the bar from the somewhat run-of-the-mill Strokes-inspired Bows & Arrows, and forged a singular expression that separates them at last from their indie-garage roots.
Other than the ostentatiously Dylanesque album closer "Another One Goes By" (perhaps more appropriately compared to Mott the Hoople, with a 50's-ish pop-waltz backing), the single tracks rarely stray from the album's overall sound. The melodic style of the opening "Louisiana" sounds the most like a track off of Bows & Arrows, and its also the track that regularly excites many of the indie-rock critics. Only after that do we get a sense of how A Hundred Miles Off differs from its predecessor: the focus moves from the song-writing, from the melody, to the subtler vocal changes and to the lyrics themselves. The experience of the album is more complex, challenging and in many respects more intriguing than standard indie rock. But don't let me mislead you into thinking this is some kind of masterpiece-- though a worthwhile chapter in the Walkmen's short career so far and an entertaining, listenable album in itself, it probably won't go so far as to make the top ten or fifteen in the next end-of-year lists. In short, I think the Walkmen's latest offering solidifies their standing in the genre, proves they have real talent, and promises a few more remarkable albums in the future."
Yes, this is a departure
J. Simon | Canton, Michigan | 02/03/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This album is very different from the band's first two. Pianos and organs still linger here and there, but they are not as prominently featured in these songs which are basically guitar-driven rock songs. Hamilton Leithauser's once incredible voice has morphed into a shirll screech lacking enunciation for many of the tracks. It's a pleasant break when he explores his lower range on "Brandy Alexander". I've heard Dylan comparisons, but maybe it's closer to Faces-era Rod Stewart. "Lousiana" "All Hands and the Cook" "Brandy Alexander" and especially "Another One Goes By" are excellent. A couple more tracks like these and this album could have been great. Overall, it's not as good as "Bows + Arrows" or "Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me is Gone" but not as bad as some critics have claimed. I'd give it a B (I'm a teacher)."
Excellent music, but the lead vocals are a hurdle
Tommy M. | Berkeley | 06/05/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The lead singer's vocals -- a cross between a young Dylan and a young Rod Stewart -- are an acquired taste, I admit. But in these days where even "indie" rock is slick and professionally produced, it's refreshing to hear something as raw and surprisingly progressive as A Hundred Miles Off. The Walkmen have a jangly exterior that strongly evokes REM, but its guts are garage rock. Just listen to those drums on "Lost in Boston." But their song structures are very end-loaded -- they sometimes don't get going until they're halfway over. And these songs aren't long, either. It's almost always worth the wait, though, because they're able to pull out some hummable melodies and fascinating percussion (to me, at least).
As you can see, The Walkmen are most easily defined by how dissimilar they are from things that suck. They're also delightfully apathetic towards whatever the trends might be, and this makes for music that ages well, in my opinion. However, the lead singer too often tries to make his voice do things it simply can't, and I find myself wondering how much better these songs would be if they had a better vocalist. His limited range is much more suited to the closer, Another One Goes By than, well, the bulk of the album.
Favorite Songs: All Hands And The Cook, This Job is Killing Me, Lost in Boston, Danny's At The Wedding."
A step back...
Adnan Abbas | 08/31/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I'd been eagerly anticipating a follow up to Bows and Arrows for some time, but after a couple of weeks, this one's not really doing it for me.
The first two albums (which have been in my car's CD changer for one and a half years straight) have these great subtle elements that the new album is missing. Aside from songwriting elements, a think a few of the songs are ruined by this new screaming thing Hamilton's doing. The drumming on the earlier albums reminded me a bit of the stuff from the Bad Plus, but all that seems to have mellowed out on the new album.
On the other hand, it's still better than most other stuff out there."
Hundred Miles On
Sammie | San Francisco | 08/23/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Walkmen just get better and better, and always seem to have a surprise up their sleeve. I certainly didn't expect an album like this, it's equally different but equally good to Bows and Arrows and Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me is Gone.
I can't even explain why I like this band so much, I've been listening to them for years and yet I can hardly name any of their songs. I simply listen to the entire albums over and over again like one giant song. That's a rare band!
Lou-WEEZ-e-ana opens a Hundred Miles Off and the strumming game is afoot. You just can't get more esoteric than that. Just when the incredibly spot-on drumming wins you over, suddenly it sounds as if Minor Threat is reborn with Tenley Town. Other songs sprinkled amidst the album remind one of a Tarantino soundtrack, or a '70s department store replete with popcorn smells in the air...you decide.
Perhaps this album is less accessible by the mainstream, especially compared to Bows and Arrows. We'll see. No matter, it's a keeper."