By The Strokes
Everyone knows how the rules of rock and roll go, especially those concerning albums and what happens when the first one you release becomes an instant classic. The Strokes find themselves in this boat and having ticked off the part which states "Your second album will not be that bad, but due to the excellence of your first album it will inevitably not be as well received" they now find themselves following the instruction that says "With enough time for everyone to have forgotten how good your first album was and having dismissed your second, you will be able to release a third which claws back some respect".
Not surprisingly the band have had to slightly alter their sound as there is only so much you can do with a downward guitar stroke (no pun intended) but it is still identifiably The Strokes from a 100 miles away. For the most part "First Impressions of Earth" is a solid but lacklustre offering and despite the experiments in sound it stays firmly in the brackets of all things Strokes without challenging the cool kids to think too hard. Single "Juicebox" is about as immediate as it gets, using both hands to hook and a meaty bass line to grip tightly, but for the rest it's going to take a bit more patience. Lazy paced opener "You only live once" could easily be plucked from either of the bands first two albums and is a promising start. Although there is little wrong with "Heart in a cage" or "Razorblade" they are no "New York City Cops" or "Last Nite". "On the other side" gets lost somewhere in the middle and although "Visions of Division" picks up the pace it is as equally uninspiring. This new Indie lift music side to The Strokes causes a major dip in the middle of the album and as another 3 tracks pass harmlessly by it seems like a bit of wasted journey all round. Things are redeemed by the band returning to safer ground with the punchier verse to "Fear of Sleep" and crescendo ending which actually catches Julian Casablancas attempting to broaden his vocal range.
"Ize of the World" wakes up the audience for the end of the album and its cut short ending is a neat trick, but "Evening Sun" is not the beautiful sun set that it could have been. Fortunately closer "Red Light" bounces along and encourages that there might be something to be had from this record yet. Difficult third album? It would seem so and those that knocked "Room on Fire" may now want to revisit it with the benefit of retrospective ears.