When The Strokes appeared on the scene in 2001, I didn’t quite get all the excitement, because their music wasn’t all that new, even if I quite liked it. The Strokes certainly did not invent guitar-based rock music, but their success marked the beginning of the period (which hasn’t really ended yet) where rock music is cool again with young people and the media, which is ok with me, after all.
After the amazing success of Is this It the second album Room on Fire was quite good, but didn t really measure up to it s predecessor. So the the question was really open, if The Strokes would continue to live of the formula of their initial success, or if they would be able to truly develop into a mature band.
It s maybe a little bit early to call The Strokes mature, but on First Impressions Of Earth they have effectively succeeded at developing their music. The most obvious change is that Julian Casablanca s voice no longer has the particular compressed/distorted sound which characterized the first the albums. But the music is also more dynamic with much more variety of sounds and atmospheres.
The Strokes have not abandoned the music that made us like them, but they have managed to introduce more variety. The off-beat guitar (I wouldn t go as far as calling it Reggae) on On the Other Side drives an extremely catchy tune and the backwards sounding sounds on Ask Me Anything creates an atmosphere The Strokes weren t known for.
In terms of influence, this time there is much more Television than Velvet Underground.
It s a great album and, it makes me think The Strokes might just be able to stay around for a while, which is just as well for me
PS: For all those who have illegally downloaded versions of the album, you might be relieved to know that Ize of The World does also have such an abrupt ending on the CD. I wonder if this was a trick to make downloaders think that they had a corrupted file