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4.3 out of 5 stars
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 6 January 2002
How anyone can compare these guys to "Oasis" or "Coldplay" (as some critics have) is beyond me. "The Strokes" owe more to "Joy Division" or "The Velvet Underground", than they do to either of the afforementioned (not to say massively over-rated) bands. The lead singer, Julian Casablancas, at times even sounds like Lou Reed.
"Is this it", is one of those rare musical treats that remains consistently brilliant from start to finish, with its catchy rythyms and chorus lines and tremendous use of the bass guitar, best captured in the albums two stand out tracks (In my opinion anyway) "Barely legal" and "Hard to explain".
The only fault I can pick up on is the relatively short playing time, just 36 minutes. Still, it's 36 minutes of class rock and roll.
"The strokes" have been touted as "the next best thing" and hailed as "The saviours of rock and roll". That remains to be seen, but British acts should take note; This is how it should be done.
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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 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 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 14 July 2001
The Strokes are a band that are being hailed by NME as the saviours of Rock and Roll. If this is anything to go by then they are certainly right. These guys are without doubt the best band to come out of America for a long time.
This is the New York bands debut album and it is very 70's yet surprisingly refreshing. If you like the Velvets or television then this is the band for you. The highlights of this album include current double-A side single Hard To Explain/New York City Cops, The Modern Age, Barely Legal and the excellent Take It Or Leave It which for me completely opitamises The Strokes. When this album is released expect a huge number of Strokes clones popping up with their own brand of garage rock.
It is eleven tracks of pure rock and roll, heavy guitar riffs and sing a long vocals. The Strokes will take the world by storm. I would advise anyone with a slight interest in rock to buy this album. Remember where you read it first!
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on 7 February 2002
This is the first fantastic album from the New York quintent. 'Is This It?' is simply eleven tracks of pure, unadultered rock bliss. Each track contains some great riffs and melodies with Casablancas' rough-cut vocals laid over the top. The only critism one could have of the album is that Julian Casablancas does not vary his voice or stretch it too far and can sound a little monotonous at times. However, the songs contain well-written lyrics and this album has some truly great tunes. Ones to look out for in particular are the genius: "Hard to Explain" which has an intelligent pause in the middle and a slight but distinct synthenised back beat and "New York City Cops" which has the simple essence of a late seventies melody from the likes of 'The Cure' or 'Velvet Underground'. If you liked the single "Last Nite", then the album is definately worth a listen to because there are many more shiny gems in this treasure trove of indie utopia. Worth every penny and utterly timeless, you'll still appreciate this in twenty years time.
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on 23 October 2001
I love this CD. I bought it spontaneously after hearing NOTHING of theirs, just read a few good reviews and decided to take a chance. I'm so glad that I have. Okay, so while you're listening to it, you think "that sounds a bit like "such and such" and everyone has said how derivative it is...but at the end of the day, so what? It's just damn catchy music. Great to start your day with on your discman because it just puts you in a good frame of mind. Now if i can only wean myself off it. After seeing what other Strokes fans had purchased I also bought the White Stripes "White Blood Cells" totally on speculation and though they arent overly similar to The Strokes, I have to say that it's a really enjoyable and raw sounding album too. Great Stuff.
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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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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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VINE VOICEon 28 August 2001
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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