By Jessica Griffin
Last week I was beginning to wonder if I would ever hear a new rock band that didn’t make me cringe. It wasn’t looking too good until I came across The Strokes. When I saw the video for the band’s first single “Last Night” my mouth dropped open. I watched in awe as the five-man band belted out a song that could have come straight out of the ‘70s New York punk scene. There was something edgy about the group that told me it wasn’t just another old punk band, though. This is new. This is it. Ironically, the band’s first album is titled “Is This It,” which makes me hope it isn’t all it has to offer. Every song on the 40-minute album is like a musical orgasm, and if it is the only album the band ever does, then I will be sorely disappointed.
The Strokes show signs of musical genius. Lead singer and songwriter Julian Casablancas, (remember the ‘80s male model guru Nick Casablancas? Julian is his son) who is a mere 23 years old, writes songs with tinges of classic rock influence showing through in all his work. His singing is reminiscent of Lou Reed, as the music has a very Velvet Underground feel to it. There is also a very upbeat Ramones kind of groove to the music. However, The Strokes hasn’t ripped off any of its influences. The band has simply taken the old stuff and made it new again.
“Is This It” has a very raw sound, like most punk albums. It almost sounds like a live recording, making you feel like you are in a packed bar, beer in hand and bouncing along to the music. The first song is the title track “Is This It.” With a driving melody and a bass line that gives the song an extra kick, this song could easily be the next single. At just two minutes and 35 seconds, this song packs a quick punch and ends with a plea of “I’m just way too tired.”
Casablancas couldn’t have been that tired however, for the next 11 songs just get better and better. Track two, “The Modern Age” is much faster than the first, and it is complete with a rocking guitar solo. With two guitar players in the band, Albert Hammond Jr. and Nick Valensi, there is plenty of room for solos, leads and rhythm parts.
Skipping on to “Last Nite,” you will realize what I have been ranting about. This song makes you want to jump out of your skin it is so good. With a bouncy bass line, a soaring guitar solo and undeniably cool lyrics, “Last Nite” is quite possibly the best song this year. After the abrupt ending, it is almost impossible to not hit the repeat button and have another listen.
I cannot stress how cool this album is. Music critics all over the world are excited about The Strokes and for good reason. The band is definitely the answer to what comes next on the music scene. Keep an eye and an ear out for it, and when the band members are on all the magazine covers and win all kinds of awards, don’t say I didn’t warn you.