From the opening ìEye Of The Tigerî-like strains of ìWhat Ever Happened?î itís obvious that The Strokes have taken their duties on Room On Fire seriously. Shackled by releasing what is perhaps the most highly-anticipated album of the year, NYC's chosen boys banded together, took the sound of their stellar debut, Is This It and took it to the next level. By the time youíve reached the second track, ìReptilia,î the game is on. An insistent hook pervades the track, setting the table for the rest of the album. Guitar tones and moods change much more than on the debut, but producer Gordon Raphael sticks with the tried-and-true ìsound like youíre recording the band from the other side of a football fieldî recording technique. That said, the album is still a big step up from the debut. The omnipresent ì12.51î is a JAM while ìMeet Me In The Bathroomî just emanates a vibe that says The Strokes. They even dirty up the sound a bit on ìThe Way It Is,î throwing in a drum machine to add a touch of modernism to the mix. Sure to end up on many, many year-end top 10s and deservedly so.
JEREMY P. GOLDSTEIN