The Walkmen "Pussy Cats"

Though A Hundred Miles Off is still warm from its late May release, the album failed to live up to the expectations these Brooklynites set for themselves with 2004’s brilliant Bows + Arrows. The materialisation of this peculiar recording proves the band are already moving forward. In essence a covers album of covers, "Pussy Cats” is a note for note tribute to the drunken collaboration between Harry Nilsson and John Lennon. Reliving this "lost weekend” of these buddies to a tee, the Walkmen have adopted the original’s free spirit, instituting a loose and frisky initiative. Recorded on the verge of their Marcata studio’s closing and a lengthy tour as a half-joke, "Pussy Cats” is hardly on the same level as the band’s three proper albums, but then again, it’s hardly supposed to be. Assisted by friends like Ian Svenonius, Mazarin’s Quentin Stoltzfus and 41 back-up singers known as the Saturday Night Marcata BBQ Chorus, this is the Walkmen and a slew of friends sharing moments of off-the-cuff fun. "Many Rivers to Cross” and "Save the Last Dance for Me” find the band on-point, harnessing angelic strings that show this sensitive side deserves to be heard more often. Tackling Dylan’s "Subterranean Homesick Blues,” on the other hand, they crack devilish smiles as the gang slur those famous words. Teddy Vann’s "Loop De Loop” and the shambolic "Rock Around the Clock” though are the band at their most unhinged, acting like a house band at a debauched ’50s sock hop. "Pussy Cats” isn’t their fourth album; it’s a refreshing change of pace for a band many thought were incapable of loosening their ties. (Record Collection/Warner)