The Strokes

Room on Fire (RCA)

As it must, the Strokes' second LP registers as something of a disappointment. After all, Room on Firesounds like the Strokes' debut--and once they remade the world in their own prickly, swivel-hipped image, nothing that sounds vaguely similar to 2001's Is This It could ever best its trashy, spiteful, nervous energy. The album's brashness made it exciting; in their oh-so-cool way, the Strokes seemed like kids who'd just found the key to the candy store.

Room on Fire, on the other hand, feels serious. Orchestrating a wider palette of musical ideas into their angular post-punk, the Strokes trade some crackle and pop for texture. The synths and reggae stuff really work, and there's an earnest beauty in the Zeppelinesque "Under Control." Similarly, the bombast is spooned out in more measured doses, but it's more than made up for by Nick Valensi's ingenious guitar work; he owns this record.

But in the brilliance of its arrangements, Room on Fire improves on--and simultaneously mirrors--Is This It: With time-signature shifts, counter-punching beats and hooks, and interlaced melodic phrases, the Strokes still sound like a band racing to keep up with itself. Which may be why every other band on the planet has spent the past two years eating its dust.

 
My Voice Nation Help
0 comments
 
Dallas Concert Tickets

Concert Calendar

  • October
  • Thu
    23
  • Fri
    24
  • Sat
    25
  • Sun
    26
  • Mon
    27
  • Tue
    28
  • Wed
    29
Loading...