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4.3 out of 5 stars212
4.3 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 17 February 2006
Sometimes I wish reviewers would just tell like it is. I live in Argentina and I am largely immune to the dross written in the British and American music press. This group are the best thing to happen to pop music since the early 90´s.
Punchy, absurdly melodic pop songs that defy belief.
Weighing in at just over half an hour this album smacks of a band desperate to show you everything they´ve got in their armoury. I like the way they start with the low-key yet beautifully lacrymose "Is this It." Every single tracks builds to a transcendent melody."The Modern Age," leads in excellently to,"Soma."
A personal favourite is,"Someday," the riff has a anthemic quality to it but the lyrics are movingly distant and understated.
Most of the songs are about love and distant relationships which is comfortable territory for a first record but the slant on everything is somehow distinct to most of the other predictable bands around at the moment. Someone told me they´ve been compared to The Velvet Underground. The person who said that obviously has never listened to The Velvet Underground.
The great thing about this album is the way the guitarists work is tandem.It all sounds so simple but yet they compliment each brilliantly, Nick Valensi provides the drive, whilst Albert Hammond Jnr chips in with his quirky little riffs that keep the listener constantly entertained. The bass player knows what he´s doing as well. Anyone who´s seen them live knows how well they work together as a unit.
They also know how to stop a track, this album never drags, each tune zips along as if they are ready to get on to the next one. Julian´s vocal style is undeniably cool, he brims with confidence and I love the way he throws the odd word in completely against the beat a.k.a Mark E Smith.
Anyone with a genuine love of music will warm to this. So what if they dress cool, isn´t that what Rock and Roll´s meant to be all about about? I hope this lot are here to stay
Dave
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on 5 August 2002
quite simply stunning!!! this cd arrived this morning and i haven't stopped playing it im gonna start charging my neighbours soon (although thats illegal)! anyway im trying to put them into a box (strokes not my neigbours) so that i can convey how they sound but its not easy. they sound a little like the ramones/blonde/smiths/cure + god only knows. the production is very raw almost sounds like the producer has simply stuck a mic down to catch them jamming somewhere and then just tweeked it a bit!! may not be everones cup of tea but raw is without doubt the best serving suggestion when you have a group playing a bunch of songs that sound this good!! i just wish that they were british cors unfortunately they waz all over coldplay, doves et al!!
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on 30 September 2001
After a week of listening to 'Is this it' my initial enthusiasm has dropped a bit, but all the same it is an excellent record and although it isn't exactly a new sound it is exciting to hear good old three minute rock and roll again !
I don't read the NME or the style mags anymore so I'm largely unaware of the alleged hype surrounding this band, however in good old rock and roll music, something has to prelude media hype and in the case of the Strokes it has to be the fact that new old thing they're doing makes you want to dance or at least move about a bit!
The lyrics have a certain 'feel good' factor the frantic pace of the album is yet another soundtrack for what New York is all about (on trips there I never leave home without Ramonesmania to listen to on the subway)
You know where you stand with bands like the Strokes just like you did with their apparent influences the Ramones, Fall, Smiths et al. Now even the most pretentious of pretentious Radioheads must at least quitely concede that rock music fans generally like knowing where we stand from time to time and like we did with Punk, Guns and Roses, Nirvana and Oasis.
The Strokes are probably not the saviours of rock and roll but in my book they're welcome to their 15 minutes of trying!
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on 8 March 2002
I bought this album once i heard the great single 'Last Nite' and i was not sure of what i was about to hear.But waht i heard was a fresh,upbeat piece of Rock and Roll genius.Julian Casablancas' vocals are raw,gritty and exciting,and The whole band just oozes class,sophistication and cool.The standout tracks are 'Alone,together',with its simple but pleasing drum/cymbals intro and its repating guitar riff,and 'Last Nite'.with its 'Lust for Life' inspired guitars,Julian Casablancas' confusing vocals(in spaceships they wont understand?),and a chirpy bass line from Fraiture.Altogether,an album that i have listened to at least 20 times over,its got everything that a rock and roll fan could want.
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on 2 November 2003
As soon as I heard this album I knew I had to buy it and I did just that, unusual for me as I am fortunate enough to have been given most of my CD collection over my years as a music venue promoter!The album quickly became my album of the year in 2002 and as 2003 draws to an end nothing has yet beaten it....but I have their new album on order so who knows?
The album took me back to parts of the 70's and 80's with a hint of iggy pop and others of his ilk but it was in no way dated. This is the freshest album I have heard in a long time with not one bad track. Its music to make you feel good, well it makes me feel good!
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on 5 March 2002
The Strokes have got IT, big time.They look fantasic, they act cool but more importantly they sound wonderful. Every song here is at least good but if you like it as much as me they are all absaloutly brilliant. Great rock/pop riffs funky bass and drums and some awsome vocals from Mr Casablancas combine for the most total package since Oasis in 1995. There are also some truly great rock and roll moments on the album like, the rousing chorus on Hard to explain, the fantastic intro to Last nite and the last minute of Alone together is just awsome and thats to name only a few. I'll end with some wise words, buy the album.
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on 18 July 2001
The most exiting debut album since Oasis' Definitely Maybe. Backed up by the singles "The Modern Age" and "Hard to Explain" the album provides the raw energy of Julian Casablancas vocals and the melodious rock sound of the guitars to produce a masterpiece of an album. They manage to reproduce their live energy on this record which many bands fail to achieve. The standout tracks are "Hard To Explain" and "Barely Legal" but it is hard to find tracks which stand out as they are all that good. The emotion and attitude within every one of the songs will make this album one of the albums of the year if not the decade, and hopefully theres more to come. Believe the hype and buy this album.
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on 24 May 2002
Every so often a band comes along that feels like the moment was designed for them, like a niche of popular culture has been reserved for their presence. And here is the latest one.
In these days where indie-rock is increasingly typecast as miserablist whining, the Strokes were just what was needed - cool, confident and gloriously upbeat. Everything a great rock 'n' roll band should be. The Strokes do nothing particularly new or clever. They just play blistering rock 'n' roll bloody well, and have a real 'bandness' about them. Observe any photo of the band and you see not just a lead singer and some other blokes who might play guitars or something, but a band. You see five young New Yorkers looking self-assured, cool and cocky, looking as if they KNOW they're brilliant, and frankly deserve all the plaudits that come their way. Such arrogance has been embedded in many of the greats - witness the Stone Roses ("the past was yours but the future's mine") - and it comes across in the music itself.
Whizzing by in a mere 35 minutes, 'Is This It' is a classic from start to finish. The band has the audacity to place the album's most downbeat track as it's opener (the title track) and to build it up from there. Next comes the pounding Lou Reed-esque 'The Modern Age' and the album is really moving. 'Soma' and the blistering 'Barely Legal' blast by and leave you breathless, before the muscular introspection of 'Someday' - one of many tracks to feature a classic guitar riff that really should have been thought of earlier. 'Alone Together' starts ordinarily but kicks into one of the most rip-roaring finales in living memory. 'Last Nite' is a glorious rush of Iggy Pop power pop while 'Hard To Explain has the sort of progressive momentum usually associated with dance music. 'N.Y.C Cops' (controversial in the wake of September 11) is perhaps the band's finest hour to date, and is, in a ragged Strokes way, extremely accomplished. After 'Trying Your Luck' and 'Take It or Leave It' wrap the album up, you'll be cursing its brevity but thanking the New-York 5-piece that the new millenium at last has a guitar band to cherish.
They may still be unproven but The Strokes are the most essential band on the planet at the moment. They feel vital and fresh yet timeless. They are currently on top of the world. See them before it's too late...
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on 24 July 2004
Chances are you would have seen every fawning review of The Strokes already as they are one of the most over-hyped bands of recent years. Don't let this put you off Is This It though as it is indeed an excellent debut and one of the best sunny-day records ever with tracks like Someday and Soma garanteed to brighten up your life.
I will admit that I, like many others, did indeed think "Is this it?" when I first heard the album. There are no outstanding rock-out moments to back up all the praise, but if its a crazy riff you're looking for go check out The Vines because The Strokes are far too *mellow* for that. But that isn't a bad thing, what The Strokes succeed in is producing catchy melodies, funny and intelligent lyrics (Barely Legal and Hard To Explain being prime examples) and songs which can stir some real emotions in you. Title track Is This It is short, simple, yet absolutely perfect and Last Night is set to be played to death in every indie club.
Lead singer and songwriter Julian Casablancas is a man of exceptional talent and effortless cool as displayed on this record and I defy anyone not to go weak at the knees when his lazy, down-trodden voice half speaks, half sings such lines as "I wanna steal your innocence"(Barely legal)
Is This It takes a good few listens to really appreciate but see it through and and you won't regret the time and money invested. Definatly worth your pennies in the long run.
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on 9 September 2001
I bought this on the strenght of the single and on first listen my initial thought was -so what!
After the second listen i started to get the vibe and by the third I was hooked. Its one of those albums that grows on each listen and although the songs are simple the Strokes add a definitive style that is their own.
As an 'oldie' Is This It' reminded me of the best bits of the New York Dolls with the added ingredient of Gene to make a mix that is pure 21st Century but with more than a glance back to 1970's punk!In a nutshell its a must buy!
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