Julian Casablancas, "Phrazes for the Young"

82 Billboard Rating

Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas steps out with his debut solo album, "Phrazes for the Young," and dynamically weaves '80s techno-pop with psychedelic punk, while also reinventing his usual monochromatic croon. His punk attitude is evident on the opener, "Out of the Blue," on which he sings over upbeat guitar and bright synths, "I know I'm going to hell in a leather jacket/But at least I'll be in another world while you're pissing on my casket." The first single, "11th Dimension," has an old-school dance vibe, complete with electro pulses and enough vocal irony to maintain the cool factor, while "4 Chords of the Apocalypse" is a bluesy number that explodes into a woeful wail. The bleak drums on "Ludlow St." segue into jangly guitars as Casablancas boozily mourns New York's gentrified Lower East Side, proving that he can still orchestrate his own musical hangover.-Kelsey Paine

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