Sound — 8
The Strokes greatest strength, the combination of the two guitars isn't as noticeable in this album. Valensi pulls off some great riffs or solos in this but Hammond Jr.'s guitar can hardly be heard in tracks like Heart In A Cage and Razorblade and you sometimes wonder whether both guitars were needed in some of the songs. Mind you, Hammond Jr. does play the awesome solo in Vision Of Division. Having said that the improvement in the basslines and the drumbeats were phenomenol. On Room On Fire the drumbeats were boring and shit and the bassline was usually playing one note over and over again. But now the drums are more intricate and I am finally convinced that Fabrizio Moretti is a good drummer. The same can be said for the basslines (check out the bass during the verse of Razorblade).
Lyrics — 8
It's hard to put your finger on what Casablancas is on about, a lot of his previous songs were about tiring relationships. It's true with some of the songs on this album but now he cover more topics. Killing Lies is supposedly about the late ex moldy peaches guitarist Aaron Wilkinson. Songs like 15 minutes seems to be talking about the Strokes' fame and how they are talked about by the critics ('Cause today they'll talk about us/And tomorrow they won't care). In particular Ize of the World is their best song lyrically since Hard to Explain (Just like music was born/And detached from your heart/Is your free time to free mindsor for falling apart) I've not got aclue what he's on about but they sure sound good.
Overall Impression — 8
The main problem about this album is that, unlike "Is This It," The Strokes chose quantity over quality here. This album could have done without tracks like Killing Lies, 15 Minutes and Fear of Sleep. It's not that these songs are awful, they do have their good point it's just that it brings the album down a mark or two. At fourteen tracks it's just way too long. Despite this there are some absolute crackers here (YOLO, Ize Of The World, Razorblade, Juicebox etc). But also FIOE marks a new beginning for The Strokes here. Their style of playing is still the same but has been tweaked so it is a much clearer and newer sound and we can finally hear Julian's voice nice and clear. If the Strokes continue in this direction their next effort just might be a classic. But should you buy it? Well, I am a massive Strokes fan so anything they produce will probably please me. If you're not a fan I can't heavily recomend, you may be dissappointed. If you want a taster of the album download these: You Only Live Once, Razorblade and Vision Of Division. If you like them then I think the album is worth getting, just don't expect too much.