Review: Jack Foley
THE only problem with putting out as successful an album as Is
This It? is following it up.
The Strokes' 2001 debut was a multi-platinum/award-winning affair,
which spearheaded the 80s focused punk-rock revival and put New
York firmly back on the music map as the place to hail from for
So just how do you follow that? Well, the answer seems simple
when listening to an album as good as Room on Fire - more of the
same, only better.
The Strokes actually surpass the brilliance of Is This It? by
mixing things up a little, even if the essential ingredients remain
Take, for instance, the current single, 12:51, with its synthesizer-driven
guitar lick, which lends the record a more fuller sound; or The
Pixies-inspired opening rifts of Between Love & Hate, which
give way to a really strong chorus, and a fantastic guitar solo
The raw feel remains, yet there is a newfound slickness to proceedings
that give the feel of a band maturing in a way which doesn't breed
The Strokes' continuing allure still lies in their ability to
consistently write such breezy moments of rock brilliance; rather
like downing a shot, rather than a cocktail, during a special
birthday party, the rush is just as effective, only quicker and
Room on Fire actually clocks in at three minutes shorter than
its predecessor, at a tight 36 minutes.
Yet there is probably more to say about it than the majority
of the over-cooked likes of some of the albums currently doing
the rounds at the moment.
Personal favourites include the tender (by their standards) Under
Control, which actually flirts with soul, and the searing guitar
loops of Automatic Stop, in which singer-songwriter, Julian Casablancas'
scorched vocals sound as wounded as ever.
Opening track, Whatever Happened, provides a somewhat downbeat
opening, but immediately grabs you with all the ferocity of anything
on Is This It?, making you realise, early on, that this is another
classic in the making.
But then another of The Strokes' strengths is their ability to
fuse desperate lyrics with uptempo music, barely allowing you
the time to draw breath, or really contemplate the meaning. They
are far from melancholy, even though the words themselves might
Hats off, then, to Casablancas, producer, Gordon Raphael, and
co for delivering another sleek, exciting, totally hip affair,
which should be on the top of any music fans' must-own list.
Room on Fire is so hot, it's scorching.
1. What Ever Happened?
3. Automatic Stop
5. You Talk Way Too Much
6. Between Love & Hate
7. Meet Me in the Bathroom
8. Under Control
9. The End Has No End
10. The Way it is
11. I Can't Win