Strokes, The - Is This It
Arriving on a wave of well-earned hype rooted in tight chops and a confident swagger, the Strokes offer a rock and roll antidote to the plague of boy bands, teen divas, and petulant rap-rock outfits. Despite this quintet's prep-school background, their sound comes from the same primordial ooze that spawned big apple legends like the New York Dolls, the Modern Lovers and the Velvet Underground. Clocking in at 36 minutes, Is This Itpacks its perfect length with stellar songs that draw inspiration from all over the map. Among the many highlights are Last Nitewith its insistent motown backbeat and choppy johnny thunders-like guitar solo, Barely Legal, sounding like 1980s-era Cure fronted by a saucy Iggy Pop, and the jangly Someday with its hairshirt of vulnerability from a bad break-up. While frontman Julian Casablancas (son of elite models founder john) drawls like Lou Reed through a busted intercom, guitarists Nick Valensi and Albert Hammond Jr do Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd proud as their sinewy chords intertwine to great effect on the angular The Modern Age and equally neurotic Alone, Together. Originally released in 2003 on Rough Trade.