Thursday, January 19

Change is Good For Former Heroes of Rock

Artist: The Strokes
Album: First Impressions of Earth

Comments: Back in 2001 when The Strokes released their first album ("Is This It?") and spearheaded a new wave and 80's influenced dance rock, they were hearled as the kings of rock and roll the band that was forever going to save and change rock and roll for all time ever and ever forever. Whether or not they did that is irrelivent, what's important is to relaize that any band that gets that kind of press over their first relases is most likly going to make one, maybe two albums and break up. But lo and behold, five years have passed since rock and roll was supposably saved, and the strokes release their third album. And I say, good for them.

The two preceding albums sound almost exactly the same, like a double disc that was just relased two years apart. But on "First Impressions of Earth" The Strokes start to show signs of change and growth in their music. Granted, alot of the songs still have the same basic sound of the last two albums; "You Only Live Once" would sound right at home on either "Is This It?" or "Room On Fire". However, "Juicebox" the first single off the album shows some balls out rock that The Strokes have not deliveder up to this point. With the driving bass and desperate guitar solos paired with Julian Casablancas's howls and growls, the Strokes show that they're more than just hipsters from New York City.

The big changes on this album seem to be the in the rythm section and in Casablancas's singing. On previous albums, the bass and drums were almost mailed in while the guitars danced around each other with a Casablancas's voice distortion leading it all. On this album, however, drummer Fabrizio Moretti sounds like he discovered that his drum set has more than just a high hat, snare, and bass drum on it. Kudos for bass player Nikolai Fraiture, who must have taken lessons over the break period between albums, because the presnece of a rythm section is much more defined on this album. And as far as Casablancas's voice goes, he dropped the distortion all together. He's not a great singer, but he's good, and it's nice to hear his voice without anything to hide behind.

The weakest points of the album are the parts that sound the same as everything else The Strokes have done. While they do show some marked growth and development, too much of this album is repetition of old material. At certin points in the album, it sounds to me like The Strokes are just covering their own songs. (See "You Only Live Once") Also, it sounds like there is no fun in this album. One of the things I really liked about the other two albums is how much fun they sounded like they were having, and how the songs seemed to be played on emotion and feeling rather than skill. Some of that youthfull feel is lost on this album.

But still, the overall growth on the ablum out weighs the loss of inocennsse. All in all, "First Impressions of Earth" is a step forward for The Strokes, who sound like they are done trying to save rock and roll, and are just ready to be a part of it.
Key Tracks - "Juicebox" "Vision of Divison" "Ask Me Anything"

OVERALL RATING - 7 out of 10
WORHT THE MONEY - Yes, if you are already a fan of The Strokes

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