Living with…the Strokes…for a week
I decided that this week should be something noughties and something new.
Thats what I wanted to live with, but events conspired against me as I went away for a couple of days to London at the beginning of the week – no access to music. I sat in a pub overlooking the Thames on Monday and flicked through the options – between The Strokes and Jay-z…Amy Winehouse? Outkast?
I read the critics – they love The Strokes – NME call Is This It “one of the best and most characterful debut albums of the last 20 years.” and have made it their album of the noughties decade; Rolling Stone calls it “flawless”. As I read these things, a drunk shuffled up to my table and told me that he wanted to be my friend. That sealed it. ..providence had spoken, and it was to be The Strokes this week.
So by Wednesday morning when I eventually reached the album, a weight of expectation lay on it (I had never heard it before) and as its stream of 3 minute coarse rock tunes poured out, it was almost inevitable that I would feel disappointed. Instant comparisons sprung to mind – its just updated Lou Reed, Velvet Underground. Arctic Monkeys but without the humour in the lyrics. Really, is this it?
Second listen. OK…yup, they’re OK.
Third listen. Foot tapping, fingers strumming, head nodding. The volume is jacked right the way up.
Fourth listen. I get them! Unnervingly simple on the first listen, they are a natural rocking sound. NME may pontificate (and they do that very well) about the resonance of the lyrics, but I didn’t really connect with anything in the words. But I loved the energy of the music – this is driving music at full volume when you just want to let rip! Great edgy guitar work drawing on a range of styles – from pop to reggae to rockabilly. Loved Hard to Explain from the start but in truth once I got the sound there isn’t a weak track in the whole album. Turn it up.
Each one is compact wasting no time, rather like this week’s blog.
Why not check out my week with Nirvana.