Volume 95, Issue 15

Wednesday, September 26, 2001
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Sue knows she's a sex goddess

King Phoenix returns to throne after 50 years

God bless American celebs?

Devils rock, but Hayseed needs watering

Tough picking porn?

The Strokes: young and bright

The Strokes: young and bright

The Strokes

Is This It


Four 1/2 stars (out of five)

Have you ever heard of The Strokes?

Unless you live in New York or Britain, the answer is probably no, but this Manhattan quintet have become near-legends overseas based solely on word of mouth.

Without so much as a single, this band have played sold out shows across the United Kingdom.

Now that their full length debut, Is This It, has been released on this side of the Atlantic, you can decide for yourself if the hype is true.

The Strokes have often been compared to the likes of the Velvet Underground, Television and The Stooges, largely because of the '60s sounding voice of lead singer Julian Casablancas. This is especially apparent on tracks like and "Last Nite," on which Casablancas does his best Iggy Pop impression. On the more restrained tracks, like the superb "Soma," he's a dead ringer for Lou Reed.

"New York City Cops" and "Hard To Explain" are the standouts, but be forewarned: these songs may make you nod your head or tap your feet uncontrollably if listened to in public places.

The Strokes have dipped this album in a bucket of guitar hooks. They also seem to have dismantled a drum machine and re-built it in the form of drummer Fab Moretti. The man can keep a beat better than Pee-Wee in a porn theatre. The performances are tight and professional and the group dynamic is exceptional.

Most songs begin and end abruptly, long before you could possibly grow tired of them. There simply isn't an ounce of fat on this record. For such a young band to be crafting such well-orchestrated songs so early, gives us hope for the future of rock 'n roll.

Be warned: once you put this disc in your stereo, you may not want to listen to anything but The Strokes again.

–Joshua Kish

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Copyright The Gazette 2001