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197
4.3 out of 5 stars
Is This It
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Price:£7.99
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 30 May 2002
The tag "saviours of rock" and the like are bandied around like there's no tomorrow and one band to have such terms applied to them were the Strokes months before this album even appeared. Usually this is enough to put you off as the band in question is actually a huge disappointment after so much hype. Well, with the Strokes it's different because they may actually be the saviours of rock. The Strokes gave the music world the wake up call that was long needed. Despite all the pop, hip hop and R'n'B that clutters the airwaves nowadays, they managed to make a huge impact and had a big hit album on their hands and it couldn't have been more just. The best proper rock music in years came in the form of the 36 minutes debut Is This It? And indeed it was it. Filled with 3 minute musical nuggets that you've waited your entire life for. A musical tour de force which leaves you riveted, be careful though, the repeat button on your stereo might end up wearing out. As the NME said in May 2001, "a band like this comes along only once in a lifetime, you'll be glad they came along in yours"
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 7 September 2001
After the magnificently catchy singles it's kind of dissapointing that all the tracks that featured on the first two singles are also featured here. The other six songs are almost as catchy but not quite up to the standard of 'Hard To Explain' and 'The Modern Age' in particular.
It's all very listenable though and perhaps the reason it's caught on so well is it's simplicity. There is nothing new or different here to countless other garage type bands of the late sixties early seventies. Music fans have been crying out for this sort of band though! Something to counteract the overproduced and overcomplicated nature of much new rock music.
The strokes debut, recorded in a mere matter of days is refrshing and really quite good. It's no masterpiece, but maybe it doesn't need to be
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 29 August 2001
well, it's been a long time coming but now that the album has finally arrived was it worth the hype?. This is the first album that since i got it i haven't been able to stop playing it . Every track is as good as the last and every track builds upon what the last achieved. They manage to have the essential elements to become a huge success, they have the songs, the attitude, the looks and more important than that they have the imagination of record buyers young and old. The songs from the two eps are songs that most of us will already be aware of and here the songs from the modern age have been re -recorded, although this seems to have made them a little more polished, it only makes them fit even more snugly into the rest of the album. They are the ultimate rock and roll band for the beginning of the 21st century. When you listen to the album the first thing that strikes more than anything is just how accomplished the songs are. For a group of 19 to 21 year olds they really are playing beyond their collective years. They seem to have swallowed up every possible influence, chewed it up and spat it back out as the most refreshing slab of rock and roll since "definitely maybe". Even though there are only six new tracks on the album they all seem to feel fresh. Soma and someday are two songs of such immense immediacey that they really could have been released as singles in their own right. Of course as with most albums this good there are always people who are going to tell you not to believe what others will say. If there is one thing that niggles when listening, it is that the lyrics are just a little vacant and perhaps just a tiny bit shallow, but hey thats a small price to pay for someting this good to listen to. If you like the idea of an album that sounds as though it was recorded by the Ramones crossed with the Smiths with Richard hell on vocals this is the album that you need to buy. If that doesn't sound like your cup of tea you really need to have your head examined.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 24 May 2002
Yes, this is probably the most hyped-up band in the world. And yes, it put me off them at first. But listening to the album on a friend's vehement recommendation has convinced me that there is something in it.
The album opens with the surprisingly slow and ponderous title track, and in my opinion it is not a good choice as the opening track. However, the album quickly gets into gear with the instantly impressive single 'The Modern Age', which moves effortlessly between rough verses and sweet, polished chorus. Indeed, all the singles are terrific (one wonders why they didn't chart better than they did), with 'Hard to Explain' and the rock'n'roll classic 'NYC Cops' standing out. However, the best track here is 'Someday', which boasts heartfelt lyrics, a stupendously catchy tune and a virtuoso vocal performance from Julian Casablancas, who almost hits a falsetto in the impassioned chorus.
This being a first album, there are almost inevitably some flaws - 'Take It Or Leave It' and the paradoxically entitled 'Alone Together' are a bit mediocre, and the whole album suffers slightly from lack of variety. But that will surely develop as the band mature musically, and these faults are easy to forgive when the rest of the music is as good as this is.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 2 October 2001
When a band is hyped into the stratosphere by all and sundry before even entering the public conciousness like The Strokes, then it is downright inevitable their album would be described by many as a disappointment. To me, this couldn't be further from the truth. I have an extensive record collection, and have wasted horrific amounts of money on albums that just weren't worth it. Is This It is truly a breath of fresh air. Every track on the album evokes a different mood, all with one thing in common: they are a joy to listen to. The stripped-down arrangements and jagged, jittery riffs may seem simplistic at first, but every listen further emphasises the depth and quality on offer here. From Julian Casablanca's deep New York City drawl to Fabrizio Moretti's scarily precise drumming, every component of this music is astounding seperately, and fantastic together. These aren't songs you get bored of or tire of, more soundtracks to a way of life encapsulated in music. "Hard To Explain" the first single from the album is a prime example of this. It's riffs and lyrics will stay in your head for days after you hear it, and yet when you listen to it again it's more subtle wonders will draw you in, and make you realise these are more than just fleeting pop songs. To call The Stroke the next big thing is an insult to their music. I only hope they go on to progress as a band, and not let the hype surrounding them affect what they are trying to do. Raw, energetic, quietly beautiful and cool as hell, please by this album. I like it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 10 October 2001
An absolute cracker of an album. The first few tracks are just good fun, old-fashioned three minute rock songs with strong rhythm but a little too much Velvet Underground in them. Rarely has an album made me want to see a band live so badly - it just makes you think of jumping up and down in sweaty basements. But that doesn't do justice to the musical quality of this. The songs are actually extremely good, and get better as the album goes on - the finest moment is "Trying Your Luck". Forget the hype, and enjoy the music.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 3 April 2002
Forget what has been written about the band in the press, if it's putting you off buying this. So what if it's not completely original - what music is? This is an exciting, vibrant, pulsating gem of a record. Other people have said they've not felt this excited since Oasis' debut in '94. I'd go back to '89 and say not since The Stone Roses have I felt so excited about a record or a band.
If you like your rock fast, simple, and fun, filled with enthusiasm and life, then this is the album to buy. It's not rocket science, sure, but it is better than a lot of what's out there at the moment.
If you like your rock contemplative and meaningful (like I usually do) then give it a chance. Don't be a rock snob, get Is This It and revitalise your life!!!
We'll see if they do turn out to be the saviours of rock, but for now they are enough to make me glad to have ears.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 1 January 2002
When all the fuss started, I immediately thought I would hate them. that theyd be Another band to be over-hyped and then ripped down by the same people who saw them as the saviours of rock and roll. But they are and they kick ass. This album is not original in content, its not fantastically intelligent (although the lyrics are very good) and I dont think the musicians are showing off their full range of talent but even the most hardened critic would find it hard not to jump around their room in idiotic fashion playing air guitar or singing into a hair brush. This is get up and go stuff, the kind of thing you listen to before a big night out. Its one and only low point is that it can get repetitive and sometimes you feel like your listening to the same song over and over. The rather catchy Last Nite personifies the album but the best song is the frankly beautiful Barely Legal.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 30 October 2001
The first time I saw the video for "Last Night" I wondered how I could've missed this band during my 70's punk phase growing up, even the video has a retro look. Not to mention being completely live, a rarity... It wasn't until I heard the video again that I decided to search for the band online. Unbelievable! They're a NEW release! Wonderful minimalistic guitar, driving drums, melodic bass guitar (what happened to melodic bass parts anyway?)... and the odd Jim Morrison vocal (that's what I hear anyway). Whatever happened to these sounds from NY in the 70's? Here it is again... Just what I was missing. Keep the music coming guys.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Listen... ignore the hype, this is just a good album by a good band. That's it.
11 great songs. Short, sweet, to the point: start, say what you need to, short solo, end. Perfect, really.
Casablancas sometimes sounds a bit like Iggy, occasionally phrases his words like Lou Reed on the last 2 Velvets albums. Most of the time he sounds like himself... the kind of drawl no British singer could get away with.
Sometimes the guitar player plays 'slash guitar' like Lou usta do live. Occasionally the band sound like Television, if they had been forced to make songs averaging 3 minutes long, not 5.
But when it comes down to it, what we have here is a good rock band playing solid songs in an addictive way. The record's just been released but I got a promo copy 2 months ago and everyone that's heard it - Goths, pop kids, HipHop fans and Alt Rock fans - are going out to buy it (or at least have taken a copy). Even after 2 months, I can't bring myself to skip a track when I play it.
It might only be 36 minutes long but it's worth every penny. And the cover art's great too. Buy it...
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