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The Strokes: First Impressions of Earth ***

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Rossiter Drake*

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THE STROKES: First Impressions of Earth
(Courtesy of SF Weekly)

The Strokes have enjoyed too much of a charmed existence to justify their turn from garage-flavored party-rock to garage-heavy diatribes against fame and fortune, but here they are, cynical and angst-ridden on First Impressions. And clearly that’s by design. Determined to broaden their sound after the carbon-copy successes of Is This It? and Room On Fire, Julian Casablancas and company have ditched longtime producer Gordon Raphael (on all but three tracks) for Sugar Ray mastermind David Kahne. The result is the quintet’s most rousing, emotionally revealing effort to date, with Casablancas finally losing his calculated cool against a background of typically meticulous riffs and frenetic melodies. “Today they’ll talk about us,” Casablancas bellows on the not-so-subtly titled “15 Minutes.” “Tomorrow they won’t care.” Maybe, but if First Impressions is any evidence, there’s plenty of reason to care. Hell, things are just getting interesting.

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