The Strokes- First Impressions Of Earth (RCA)

The Arts — By on February 23, 2006 at 1:19 pm

This is the law: If you even might have taken your band name from a Billy Squier song, then your records will always be compared to Don’t Say No (by this journalist, at least). It’s only fair, and The Strokes passed this test with flying colors on their first two albums. They loaded up Is This It and Room On Fire with “My Kind Of Lover” and “In The Dark”-caliber songs. Oh yeah, and they looked super-cool and boinked models, too.

By this (some might say) modest standard, the new Strokes album is a terrible disappointment. First Impressions Of Earth is The Strokes’ shark-jumping. It starts promisingly enough with “You Only Live Once”, which may be their best song ever- Julian Casablancas’ top-notch melody bouncing off Albert Hammond Jr.’s wonderful post-punk guitar riff over a machine-guided rhythm. The album’s first single “Juicebox” comes next and keeps the listener’s spirits up though not being ultimately memorable. “Heart in a Cage” and “Razorblade” are pleasant but start to make you think about how much better you liked the first song. By the time “Vision of Division” rolls around with its train wreck bridge, the album is officially starting to blow. The sad Tale Of The Tape is that the remaining eight songs do nothing to right the ship and it’s apparent that First Impressions Of Earth not only fails the Don’t Say No test, it doesn’t even measure up to Emotions In Motion. Yes, friends- The Strokes have officially hit Signs Of Life mode here. All they need to do is make a video for “You Only Live Once” that features Casablancas dancing & prancing around his bedroom (a la the Squier’s god-awful clip for 1984’s “Rock Me Tonite”) and Julian and his band of merry men can kiss their careers goodbye.

RATING (1-10): 4

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