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Monday, December 24, 2007

THE WALKMEN
A Hundred Miles Off
(Record Collection)

I have been listening to Dylan circa mid-60s recently and came to the Walkmen a little late with their third album, A Hundred Miles Off and all I can hear is more Dylan! To be fair, singer Hamilton Leithauser does not merely mimic Dylan’s rasping larynx but rather uses it as a basic foundation to set off a fireworks of possibilities.
Unlike the previous two Walkmen albums, it’s guitars to the fore on A Hundred Miles Off, with the formerly ubiquitous keyboards now kept to a bare minimum. And the guitars provide a jagged majesty to the songs – a visceral quality that compliments Leithauser’s ragged vocal posturing.
Musically, A Hundred Miles Off comes off like a punky Band with the adrenaline pumped up to the max. I mean, there are no rustic ballads here, and “Tenley-Town” is pure punkabilly. So much of this album is full-on “in the face” that it may be difficult to take for those with genteel sensibilities.
To me, it’s a brilliant kick up the arse for anyone who believes that sixties rock is redundant and irrelevant, it just requires the occasional updating. The Walkmen have done just that with A Hundred Miles Off and the modern rock scene is better off. A

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