First Impressions of... 2006

boosh - Posted on 15 May 2006

So The Strokes recently (03 Jan, 2006) released a new album to a wave of absolutely no press at all. The surprising thing is... it's actually pretty good. I sound surprised because, if you will recall, The Strokes we're "Rock's (Newest) Greatest Hope" back when "Is This It" was released, and that title is usually a kiss of death. (Think The Stone Roses). Now, unlike the 'Roses, The Strokes came out with a second album within 4 years of their first (it was actually about 2 years later). "Room On Fire" was not a great leap forward artistically, in fact it was almost identical to "Is This It". But at least it got made and was a solid album (yeah, I'm talking to you, Ian Brown!). Anyway, the new album is a nice step forward for the band. The opening track "You Only Live Once" starts much like many other Strokes songs, but the lyrics seem stronger, and the band (notorious for being on the "loose" side) is very tight and together. It's a very strong start to the album. The second track "Juicebox" is the first single (I believe) and is actually _not_ one of my favorites. The opening guitar riff just seems kind of cliche. Props to the band though, as the track definitly does not sound like _anything_ from the band's first two albums. First Impressions then settles down to form a solid core for the album. 'Razorblade' and 'On the Other Side' are nice power-alterna-pop, that sounds familiar, but fresh. 'Vision of Division' is a bit cliche (as the title might suggest), but is still enjoyable to listen to, especially when Julian Casablancas breaks into his pateneted sing/speak/yelll at the end. But then we get to the quite boring statement song, oh so cleverly called 'Ask Me Anything'. The answer to any and all questions, however, is "I Have Nothing To Say". This track is a response to the critics that have said Casablancas' lyrics lack substance. Not really helping his case here (yes, I understand the irony, the song is just _boring_). The next three tracks are pretty boiler-plate Strokes with some new tricks thrown in. Track 11 '15 Minutes' is an outstanding, layered effort with tempo changes that really keeps your attention. I like the experimental sounds and wordplay of 'Ize Of The World' too. Sometimes it sounds like classic Strokes, sometimes you're not sure what you listening too. The final two tracks are solid as well, and wrap up a well planned, executed, and (mostly) successful third album. I hope we get to hear a few of these tracks get radio play. Full track list: 1. You Only Live Once 2. Juicebox 3. Heart In A Cage 4. Razorblade 5. On The Other Side 6. Vision Of Division 7. Ask Me Anything 8. Electricityscape 9. Killing Lies 10. Fear Of Sleep 11. 15 Minutes 12. Ize Of The World 13. Evening Sun 14. Red Light -boosh


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