Rock saviors or over-hyped posers? That's the debate surrounding this much-talked- about New York quintet and its aptly titled full-length debut.
Rock saviors or over-hyped posers? That's the debate surrounding this much-talked- about New York quintet and its aptly titled full-length debut. The fact is, neither is a fair tag. The album is certainly one of 2001's finest, most memorable releases. It just shouldn't be billed beyond what it is: a deliciously fun romp that draws heavily upon influences like the Velvet Underground, Television, and the Stooges. But in a rock market saturated in nu-metal and suburban frat-punk, the Strokes are an anomaly—hence much of the fuss. The art of the band is its ability to playfully reinterpret and reinvigorate the lo-fi, vintage CBGBs sound. Credit that success to a raw, exuberant delivery and frontman Julian Casablancas' vocal mix of swaggering bravado and jaded weariness, highlighted on standout tracks "The Modern Age" and "Last Night." Is This It—steeped in classic themes of sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll—manages to seem simultaneously old and refreshingly new.—BG