January 12, 2006

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The Strokes, First Impressions Of Earth
RCA, 2006
A

Many of us owe a great debt to The Strokes for helping cure the rap-rock epidemic that plagued us in the late ‘’90s. Now with two successful albums under their belts, The Strokes have been called upon again to save the genre from going into a pretentious spiral.

The band ditched long-time producer Gordon Raphael in favor of Sugar Ray producer David Khane. Don’t let Khane’s previous work send you into a vomiting session, for he has actually taken the band’s sound out of the retro dumpster. The first noticeable thing about First Impressions Of Earth is that the music no longer sounds as if you’re listening to it through a ham radio. Listening to the heavy, guitar driven single “Juicebox” may actually have Parliament Light-smoking shoegazers swaying a bit. But don’t worry anti-dance-ites, there’s plenty of neurosis around the corner.

By the time you hit “On The Other Side” it becomes clear that The Strokes are beginning to emanate a true rock star aura, as they will no doubt cement themselves into rock music’s consciousness with First Impressions Of Earth. Julian Casablancas’ odd, bi-polar musings step outside of the pretentious and remind us that bands like Wolf Parade and The Bravery have nothing interesting to say.

This is a step up for The Strokes that will no doubt cause an inner battle and have you questioning whether this could be better than their debut, Is This It.

— Dan Brian