The Strokes

Record Review

Phases and Stages

The Strokes

Is This It (RCA)

Yes, it is. This is it. Raves are fluttering around this NYC quintet like a ticker-tape parade, and with good reason. Finding fault with Is This It, the Strokes' 36-minute transistor radio meltdown, is like deconstructing the Ramones; it's not what went into the haircuts as what bops out from beneath them. In this case, it's lean, infectious, uptempo pogo pop. Think Buddy Holly & the Crickets if they'd been part of the New Wave instead of the First Wave. The twin guitar lines skitter somewhere between Blur and Travis, while master tunesmith Julian Casablancas' nasal, processed vocals and stuttering riffs recall a bouncing Bowery version of mid-Nineties "It" boys, the Presidents of the United States of America. The sing-songy thump of the title track/opener preps baby moshers for the ensuing onslaught of twitchy, three-minute electrical shocks, which run together with a scrap of Iggy Pop here ("The Modern Age"), some of that Davíd Garza buoyancy there ("Last Nite"). Most notable, besides the snickering leer of "Barely Legal" is "New York City Cops," which was dropped from the LP after advances had gone out. ("New York City cops ain't the smart," chants Casablancas.) Final track "Take It or Leave It" scuffs up the band's faux-Brit-pop sheen with scabrous energy. No chips or cracks in this debut's silly-grin inducing veneer, just one short, sharp jolt of postmodern skank. Is This It, down with the upstroke. (The Strokes play Stubb's Tuesday, Oct. 23.)

****

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
William Harries Graham
Jakes (Record Review)

Doug Freeman, April 12, 2019

Texas Platters
Rebecca Loebe
Give Up Your Ghosts (Record Review)

Christina Garcia, April 12, 2019

More by Raoul Hernandez
Texas Platters
Grupo Fantasma
American Music Vol. VII (Record Review)

April 19, 2019

Texas Platters
Sydney Wright
Seiche (Record Review)

April 5, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

The Strokes

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle