on 2 October 2005
This is a short one. Just 33 minutes of music in an age where we have now forgotten that albums used to be half an hour long - if you were lucky. Fortunately, they have made the best use of that half-hour. From start to end this is just a magnificent sweep of guitar-oriented sound. The Strokes guitar sound is so distinctive it makes you want to pick up a guitar and amp yourself, just to try copying it. I often listen to this album when I am on flights as it is an album you can easily tune into and switch off from the rest of the world.
on 9 January 2004
You move to New York, grow your hair and make an amazing debut, create more hype than a lunar landing...
Its inevitable that Room On Fire has been so built up, but the hype is destructive. ROF stands alone as a very good rock record, excellent riffs, songwriting and musicianship mean that it lives up to its predecessor. But it's not enough, apparently.
The second album is a difficult one to judge as it is always in the shadow of its debut and doesn't really give enough evidence of any kind of change in style. Its only after album 3 that you can really start examining a band closely and fairly. But lets talk about the album...
The Strokes have not merely recorded an Is This It 2. This album is very accomplished-it moves away from the first, yet not so far as to alienate its fanbase. Whatever Happened is a great opener which is like the album summed up in 3 minutes. Reptilia is another great track which wouldn't sound out of place on the first album. The best track is The End has No End, with its neo-prog rock imitations, echoes of King Crimson 'Red' were pleasantly suprising. Their distinctive and original sound is still here, but the electro-rock addition gives it an edge. ROF successfully consolidates their position as the innovators of cool, but its album 3 which is make or break.
on 27 July 2004
I discovered The Strokes a bit later than most people but I am now a huge fan. I loved 10 out of 11 tracks on the first album (how often does that happen?) and I think 'Room on Fire' is as good. To me it would be worth buying for either 'Reptilia' or 'Under Control' alone. I think most of their tracks sound deceptively simple at first but get better and better the more you listen to them. '12.51' initially seemed a bit dull but now I completely love it. I have been around long enough to have been into loads of different rock bands, but have found few in recent years that put across the same compelling combination of youthful energy and brilliance - the sort of feeling created by Free or The Who in the 70s - but The Strokes have more great songs. I think anyone who like the first album and slates this just hasn't listened to it enough.
on 16 March 2007
In 2003 The Strokes faced a very difficult challenge - making an album anywhere near as good as Is This It (for me, one of the best albums ever). It's not as good as Is This is - not much is - but it comes pretty close.
It starts with a perfect album opener 'Whatever Happened', followed by the outstanding 'Reptilia'. Albert Hammond Jr's 'Automatic Stop' is a delightful, slower-tempo album track and forms a perfect interlude between 'Reptilia' and lead-single '12:51'. '12:51' is 2 and a half minutes of pop-rock perfection, such a simple and yet effective track with a great guitar riff.
'You Talk Way Too Much' is the closest this album gets to filler or throwaway, but this is based on The Strokes' high standards, and it is a very good song in its own right. 'Between Love and Hate' is another slower song, reminiscent of 'Automatic Stop'. 'Meet Me In The Bathroom' is another catchy 3-minute garage-rock romp, whilst 'Under Control' is a slightly strange song structually, but is definitely a grower.
The latter half of the album is punctuated by 'The End Has No End', an absolutely superb track, which would have fitted nicely onto Is This It. The album ends strongly with the edgy 'The Way It Is' and the pleasant 'I Can't Win'. I would rate the album at 4.5/5, but as there are no half stars I'll have to round it up! Yes, ok, it might be 'Is This It Mark 2' but why change a winning formula?
on 7 January 2006
A lot has been made of this album not living up to the standard the Strokes set with Is This It, but I can't understand it. The only criticism I could make of Room On Fire is its similarity to their debut. Still, I find it a better album than its predecessor and tracks like Reptilia, 12:51 and Between Love And Hate make the hairs stand up on the back of my neck when I really listen to them.
If you liked ITI, this is a great extension of the kind of brilliantly original rock they were playing on that, but they raise the standards on some tracks. For instance, the riff in Reptilia is a simple infectious tune, but not in any way irritating or cheesy, as with so many of their imitations.
on 3 March 2005
Well Room on Fire didn't exactly set the world alight but it is a decent enough follow up from The Strokes' first album "Is This It?". There are a few stand out tracks (mainly those that got released as singles however) and the rest of the album is of high enough quality to keep the mood going. The only thing I'd say is that the vocals seem to be at a much lower level (volume wise) on some of the tracks, almost to a point of not being able to hear them at all! The Strokes stick to their same style with this album and don't really tend to stray from their norm, if you've heard them before (any of the previous "Is This It?" album or perhaps the singles from Room on Fire) and liked those tracks then this would be a decent enough addition to your CD collection. However if you want variety and perhaps a different sound to the material you have heard before by The Strokes then this album does not have much to offer.
Overall it's a good album and worth the 4 out of 5 stars.
on 1 December 2003
A lot of people have been saying that this album sounds too similar to the last one, I can see their point but that sound works so well and personally I love it. A great album, although a little less harsh sounding than the first, and is lacking equivalents to the lively 'NYC Cops' and 'Take it or Leave it'. Still this is an outstanding album and most definitely worth a listen. There are some lovely mellow sounding songs such as 'Under Control', on which you can really hear just how good Julian's voice is. 'Reptilia' and '12:51' are the liveliest of the tracks and my favourites, with some good sounding guitar effects I have not heard before. This album is considerably shorter than the first, although this is a good thing as it leaves you wanting more at the end of every song. Roll on Friday night at Alexandra Palace!
on 25 August 2004
Although I bought the album on release day, I'm only now writing a review. Probably because I've just been listening to it all this time.
This album brings back the saviours of guitar music. The Strokes came with "Is This It?" and completely refreshed the music scene. Taking it away from the boringly tedious heavy sounds of the Nirvana wannabes and the horrific sound of Nu-Metal which should be buried very very deep underground. "Is This It?" was indeed IT for poor guitar music.
With such an emphatic debut, The Strokes bore a massive responsibilty to the music fan. They needed to reproduce another great album to show that this music is back and here to stay. Many came in between to strengthen the resolve against the evils of music. In a sort of Lord Of The Rings-esque alliance against the darkside of music. The Hives, White Stripes, Ash, The Libertines... Albums were coming out to bring this great music from back from when it died along with the Stones.
When "Room on Fire" came, I believe this won music back for a long time. This album is incredible. If you put it in your CD player, and turn it up fully before playing, the first bars of "What Ever Happened?" make ornaments shake. The first howl of Julian, screaming "I wanna be forgotten/But I don't wanna be reminded" blow you back from wherever you are into the nearest wall. As with the songs on the debut, every song ends abruptly. And the end of "What Ever Happened" is met with, arguably, the best rock n roll song of the last 5 years. "Reptilia" is one of the most energy-fuelled, geniusly-created, technically-masterful songs ever. Aptly, the chrous ends with some of the most fitting words for a song and album like this, "The wait is over/I'm now taking over/You're no longer laughing, no/You're not/Drowning fast enough" Without saying it in so many words, The Strokes know they are wiping out all contenders to this amazing music.
To write a full review of this album would mean a huge paragraph about the sheer beauty of each song. But that can't be done. "Automatic Stop" starts with some of the most mind-whirling, reggae influenced guitar sounds you'll hear. "12:51"'s genius guitar effects are bettered nowhere and it's beauty is so short-lasting that you're left craving for more. "Under Control" is their first experiment with the "slower" style of music, and it is delicious. Fab's drumming on the next two songs, "The Way It Is" and "The End Has No End" is impeccable. The guitar work done by Nick, Albert and Nikolai all the way through is exquisite. All wrapped up in the glorious fact that The Strokes put everything at the same level in the mix. There is no frontman; they all appear at the front of the sound. Julian's moans blend in beatifully with Albert's guitar work. Fab's drumming and Nick's guitar seem to be coming from one same, mutated instrument. The Strokes are a band of frontmen.
Add to this amazing music the fact that these guys are the coolest and sexiest men ever to enter the arena of rock n roll and you have a great band with a great album. Also, remember that this band does not need to get wasted on drugs to write incredible music. They gett a little drunk on stage, but at least we're pretty safe in the knowledge that they won't go killing themselves because life is "too much". These are the men who are glorified for their music, not their cowardly drug addicitons and suicides.
Roll on album three, but this Room will still be on Fire come that time.
on 18 March 2004
With suprisingly catchy riffs and a range of different and interesting themes to the songs, Room On Fire is a great album to just chill out to. Usually just on in the background in my room; it's easy, casual music with great beats and a really new kind of sound; differing greatly from both hard rock and indie, with a pleasant mix. A good album- 5 stars.
on 4 May 2004
If you like edgy, pulsating, noisy, dark but melodic rock music then this album will blow your mind. It is quite simply the best and gets better the more you listen to it. There is not one duff track.
The Strokes are so creative, throwing off brilliant tunes like a spinning firework. There are more tunes in each track than most bands have in a whole album. Don't get the idea that there is anything syrupy about this album, there isn't - it's hard edged and raucous. Each track is constructed like a master at work. Edgy rhythms, beautiful bass lines and fantastic guitar solos effortlessly intertwine to engage your emotions as well as your mind. Go on - buy it. It's miles better than their first album.