Has it really been 10 years since the release of The Strokes’ critically-acclaimed debut Is This It? It seems like just yesterday we were screaming along to the Rolling Stones-influenced rock n’ roll track ‘Last Nite’, poorly attempting to imitate Julian Casablancas’s strained and abrasive vocals, and humming the insatiable melody to 2003’s ‘Reptilia’. It’s been six years, filled with a multitude of solo careers and a rising sense of mystery and enigma, since the New York-born, garage-rock group last released an album – and now they’re due for another.
Although clearly a band of longevity and musical prestige, this large gap in time raises the question: are The Strokes at a loss in terms of offering their audience something innovative? Following the release of Is This It in 2001, the band was awarded with the Brit Award for ‘Best International Newcomer’ and the NME Award for ‘Best Album’ in 2002. Conversely, their third studio album First Impressions of Earth was experimental and a controversial change from their much-loved previous style. The record had far more emotional morbidity and polished instrumentation, and hence gained very mixed reviews from critics.
So, what next? The Strokes are set to release their fourth album Angles in March, which the band claims bridges the gap between their traditionally raw debut sound and their more shiny and synthesiser-heavy sound. Perhaps this will help them to obtain more positive reviews, and maybe even ensure themselves some national and global awards for 2011. Ultimately however, whatever musical route the band decides to take, their sheer honesty and genuine nature will always be confirmed in their lyrics. From the humorous and yet jarring “I don’t even like it, I just lied to get to your apartment” in 2001 to the desolate and isolated “Nobody’s waiting for me on the other side” in 2005, this band has shown not only a progression musically, but also one in maturity and emotional depth. As one of the fore-fathers of indie-rock today, The Strokes will always stand out as a shining light amongst a sea of generic music. Why? In Julian Casablancas’s words, “It’s hard to explain…”