Is This It?
The Strokes were christened with rock 'n' roll savior status months before their first full album was even released in the United States, but they don't seem to be feeling the pressure.
Ranging in age from 20 to 22, the low-fi, ex-prep school punks from New York turned England upside down earlier this year, with little more than a three-song EP to their name. The cross-continental buzz got louder every week, and for the first time in a long time, it looks like the British actually got things right in declaring their new rock 'n' roll sensations.
The Strokes' sound is a raw, raucous blast of tight-fisted energy that slams through every one of the 11 cuts on this hotly anticipated full-length debut. And while the transistor radio vocal techniques that dominate the disc sound too gimmicky and tedious, they're not able to take away from the surging wonder of “Barely Legal,” the flat out fun flavors of “Last Night,” the Motown-echoes of “Someday,” or the Lou Reed like intensity of “The Modern Age.”
While this is definitely stripped down stuff, there's a subliminal intricacy in the music as well, with bass player Nikolai Fraiture in particular turning in some deliciously twisted lines in the title cut and in “When It Started.” The restless rhythms and relentless guitar edge leave a sturdy soundscape for the lacerated vocals of Julian Casablancas, who's leading the charge for one of the major musical success stories of 2001.