A Hundred Miles Off - The Walkmen

Generally favorable reviews - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 26
  2. Negative: 1 out of 26
  1. It’s the band’s throatiest, most pressing and urgent release to date.
  2. This is not an easy record to absorb. The band’s rough-hewn production is tinny and sonically chaotic, but underneath the surface noise lurks one of the finest records of the year.
  3. 84
    The band has seized upon that sloshy saunter that we love and turned it into an elaborate dance. [#20, p.94]
  4. An album that's more like the Walkmen's concerts than the meticulously crafted sound of their other albums.
  5. A Hundred Miles Off is nearly 100-percent on. [Jul 2006, p.204]
  6. Despite all the palpable influences, the Walkmen have made this album their own.
  7. The songs are still full of lush guitars and dense, clattering percussion, but offer the added bonus of being more grandiose and emotional.
  8. A set of rousing, sharply focused, late-night pleas and barroom romps that take the group well beyond its garage roots.
  9. The Walkmen haven't changed much since B&A... but they've honed their nervy talent chiseling lines of post-punk history.
  10. The Walkmen careen through 12 songs that frequently devolve into sound-swallowing echo and boozy bellow, until the whole album becomes one long, moody abstraction.
  11. The concentrated unity of form and content that elevated sterling sophomore effort Bows & Arrows has been replaced by a footloose approach to songwriting and style that fails to mesh.
  12. 70
    Give it time and you'll be rewarded. [Oct 2006, p.102]
  13. 70
    Although A Hundred Miles Off doesn't always score a bullseye, its vibrancy and colour win through. [Oct 2006, p.133]
  14. Reveal[s] an unexpectedly lilting and rootsy side to its sound and a growing facility for evocative storytelling lyrics.
  15. While this most recent release does not equal the shimmering weight of Bows and Arrows, it has more than enough potency to stand on its own.
  16. Overall, A Hundred Miles Off is less intense than one may expect; there is no "The Rat" on this record.
  17. Despite occasional flashes of inspiration, much of the record blends together into a whole that is somehow much less than the sum of its parts; the ingredients are colorful, but the end result is disappointingly dull.
  18. As a result of [Leithauser's] strangulated mewls and caterwauls, "A Hundred Miles Off" is at times very difficult to listen to indeed.
  19. This is an album steeped in classicism while still creating its own world. It just lacks the killer song. [Oct 2006, p.127]
  20. The battle between the cream and the shit ends in a perpetual give and take, but it's the positives of A Hundred Miles Off we will remember in the long run.
  21. The CD's austere instrumentation brings out the worst in Leithauser, whose once-endearing tunelessness becomes a whining deterrent.
  22. Throughout A Hundred Miles Off the songs are almost blistering, almost gut-wrenching, but almost is never enough. [#14]
  23. A Hundred Miles Off needs a single or a hook to balance its trebly extremes, and Leithauser's good-ol'-boy tenor has lost some of its edge, tripping too easily into the whiny nether regions.
  24. When the Walkmen are on, they can be as compelling as ever, but they’ve just spent too much time creating television-drama background music and not enough energy stretching themselves.
  25. A hundred miles off, and they might as well be a thousand. [16 Sep 2006, p.37]
  26. So while Hamilton Leithauser believes he's made a record comparable to the legendary 'The Basement Tapes', it seems almost churlish to point out that you'd be far better off digging out a copy of 'The Basement Tapes' and listening to it, than going out and purchasing 'A Hundred Miles Off' and listening to it once.

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