By The Strokes
Finally one of the most eagerly awaited albums is here, but have The Strokes returned with a modern day classic, or will "Room on Fire" leave fans asking 'Is this it?'
Hyped for months by the music press, The Strokes' latest offering sounds aurally much like their last album, just with a few more ideas thrown in.
"What Ever Happened?" is a strong start, with Julian Casablancas sounding more urgent and desperate than I've ever heard him. Lyrically the song is dark, alluding to celebrity disillusionment with the "I want to be forgotten and I don't want to be reminded" opening line.
Track two, "Reptilia", is catchy, as is "Automatic Stop", but neither are top class songs, 'good' rather than 'excellent'.
The first single taken off the album, "12:51", starts like "Last Night" but soon blossoms into something much different. Casablancas' singing on this track follow the melody laid down by the guitars, lending a 'sing-song' quality to his vocals, which I'm not sure works that well.
Between "Love and Hate" is a standout track, beginning with a plaintive stripped down sound, before building up to a fuller, swaggering tune. The only problem is it seems to finish prematurely, almost as if the bands are desperate to keep all the songs as close to three minutes as possible.
Track seven, "Meet Me in the Bathroom", seems incredibly short and worse for it. Fab's snare is incredibly high in the mix, providing an intrusive distraction during the song.
"The End Has No End" is, in my opinion, the best track on the album. Weighing in towards the end of the disc, this has got to be a single. Playful guitar darts around the entire song before leading to a guitar solo you can practically see the band bending over backwards to play.
Lasting just over half an hour, "Room on Fire" is certainly short and sweet and whilst The Strokes have retained a similar sound to their previous releases, this album seems a lot more urgent and fresher for its brevity. If you liked "Is This It?" you'll love this.