First Impressions of Earth

Studio Album by released in 2005

First Impressions of Earth review

The Strokes were equally blessed and cursed with an enormous amount of hype

Equally inspired by classic tunesmiths like Buddy Holly and John Lennon as well as the attitude and angular riffs of fellow New Yorkers Television and The Velvet Underground, The Strokes were also equally blessed and cursed with an enormous amount of hype – particularly from the U.K. music press, whose adulation for the group rivaled their fervor for Oasis in the early '90s. Barely in their twenties by the time their debut album Is This It? arrived in 2001, singer/songwriter Julian Casablancas (the son of Elite modeling agency kingpin John Casablancas), Moretti (who began playing drums at age five), guitarists Nick Valensi and Albert Hammond, Jr. (the son of singer/songwriter Albert Hammond), bassist Nikolai Fraiture, and drummer Fabrizio Moretti's success wasn't quite of the overnight variety, but it still arrived pretty swiftly. First Impressions Of Earth is the third album from New York art-rockers. Whilst the previous two albums have been similar in both sound and style, this time around the band have refined their sound and experimented with it, making for a refreshing and diverse selection of songs.

First Impressions Of Earth finds The Strokes fulfilling all that early promise

The album’s lead single – the prowling, Cramps-inspired rock’n’roll number Juicebox – is something of a red herring. However, songs like the triumphant You Only Live Once or On The Other Side are born in the crisp, synthetic spirit of the early ‘80s new wave. Two particular moments stand out: Heart In A Cage is a drifting, melancholy proto-punk number in the spirit of Berlin-era Iggy Pop, while Ask Me Anything unfurls as something of a solo piece, frontman Julian Casablancas emoting over a restrained backdrop of synth and strings. Razorblade, Red Light and Evening Sun have the breezy style The Strokes are know for, instantly burrowing themselves into the listeners mind and refusing to leave. Electricityscape shows how guitarists Valensi and Hammond Jr. improve with each record. The dynamic flutter of Vision of Division, the pop precision of Ize of the World, and the building, passionate Fear of Sleep ensure The Strokes' faithful have a reassuring nest of quality to nuzzle, each contending with Juicebox to be perceived as the album's best. As a whole, First Impressions Of Earth finds The Strokes fulfilling all that early promise and displaying a slow-evolving longevity that few would have ascribed to them.

Already a contender for best album of 2006

With First Impressions Of Earth, The Strokes show all the pretenders that they are back to snatch their crown of this decade's greatest band. For their third effort the band retreated to a custom-built studio of their own design, replacing regular producer Gordon Raphael with David Kahne. The resulting record is more relaxed, confident and lively. The most notable thing on First Impressions Of Earth is that The Strokes have become slightly more self indulgent, but that’s a good thing. The vocals are more aggressive and passionate; the guitar work is heaver but manages to retain those catchy little riffs. The bass-lines drive this album, really heavy, rather like the way Jean Jacques Burnell played when The Stranglers were at their prime. It’s The Strokes who are in their prime now – they seem to improve even though they appeared to be no room for improvement? First Impressions Of Earth is already a contender for best album of 2006.