The Walkmen

A Hundred Miles Off

For all the security lockdown and insane hype over the Walkmen’s third release, the disappointment is almost angering. Central to this annoyance is singer Hamilton Leithauser’s voice, which has reached obnoxious new heights on a largely tedious and boring album. What started off as a promising journey from charming, jaunty dance tracks (see first album Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me Is Gone) to contagious, frenetic energy and hi-hat smashing (see second album Bows & Arrows) has been usurped by a haze of directionless guitar strumming, painful off-key crooning, and even a misstep into the punk genre. That said, there are a couple of noteworthy moments. Opener “Louisiana” starts off as a sunny folk-pop number, then dives into a Caribbean-flavored trumpet blast for the chorus that strangely works. Midway through the album, “Lost in Boston” is a refreshing adherence to traditional song structure, complete with a twenty-second lead to hook, marching drums, and shimmering guitar reminiscent of early U2 charisma. Unfortunately for the rest of the album, A Hundred Miles Off lives up to its name.

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