The Strokes | First Impressions Of Earth
The Strokes sound less angular yet tighter and fuller on this new release, the first notable release of 2006. Julian Casablancas' voice is still delightfully disheveled, but his lyrics are more self-reflective and dare we say more mature? It's easy to hate The Strokes, they are the pretty boy NY hipsters that I don't miss since I've moved west, but this album is actually good, much better than Room on Fire. Shea says the contagious chorus melody in "Razorblade" bites Barry Manilow's "Mandy" (no joke), while "Vision of Division" boasts a Brahman-influenced guitar solo -- and are those electric, backwards cellos on "Ask Me Anything"? Some great sugar-coated hooks here, worth a spin or two. - ES/GH/TK

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