Sound — 9
The Strokes are among the small minority of bands that maintain a level of 'cool' that debates whether they can compliment that suave and sophistication with true, bitter, grinding emotion. And proudly I can say that every album The Strokes have released has lived up to any impression you may first have of them. To explain more, this album is one of those rare moments where you feel all the different emotions your body allows you to feel. The opening You Only Live Once is a sweet song of casual ethics and diversity. It bubbles out a warm sensation in your 'guttiwutts' that is perfectly proceeded by the energetic and sleazy bass line of Juicebox. And all the guitar nuts have an ear full as well you listen to the blinding guitar work of Heart In a Cage. Even though it sounds easy, it is extremely difficult to play. That is a quality that few bands can muster up, the ability to sound simple in a cosmic way. Look at all the best bands, Metallica, Detones, System of a Down, Nirvana, Korn, The Beatles, they all sound simple and yet contain inner depths that begs you to question whether they are even human! The Strokes can rip out tune after tune of musical passion without becoming succumbed to their obvious slickness and abilities. Their songs are ripe with raw recklessness but they still indubitably know how to work in a studio. Particularly with this album, we see a new side to The Strokes. They have not quite abandoned their simplistic approach to recording and writing, but they have certainly stepped up in the difficulty and diversity in this album. The songs are longer, more complex, have more parts to them and so on. Don't feel scared by that thought, if their stripped back angles was the reason why you loved them in the first place, as they still advocate a sense of carelessness and defiance in their music. Their sound is a mixture of The Pixies, The Smiths, Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, Yeah Yeah Yeah's and other similar acts. But it is hard to actually pin down their character seeing as it is so diverse and articulate. It almost feels like they invented the original New York Indie sound, so nothing to compare them to before they began. That sound that The Killers, Yeah Yeah Yeah's, and Interpol had all followed. They are true pioneers, because they don't care what people think. They just write some of the most animated and enthusiastic material ever recorded.
Lyrics — 10
Don't be a coconut, God is trying to talk to you. The perfect epitome of what The Strokes entail: Sweet, sorrowful lines of reality. it's not only the words that he uses that announce him as an amazing lyricist, it's the way he sings them and how purely the words coincide with the tune. The way he slowly lowers his voice as if he is talking to his children, advising them on how to shave or to pet the dog. The compassion and obvious sincerity in his songs is so rare in music that, when you find it, you should bask in it and repeat it over and over again. Just so you can get the most out of it. I hate them all, I hate them all, I hate myself for hating them, So drink some more, I'll love them all, I'll drink even more, I'll hate them even more than I did before. This is another example of how you can rearrange something simple like this into a totally different idea by the way in which you sing into that Shure SM58, or whatever they may of used in the studio. The passion that is displayed is a true testament to their genius. Every single lyrical passage is enviable and desirable. it's like the riff to Pantera's Walk, you wish so much that you had wrote it, or the solo to Comfortable Numb. Every word becomes powerful and effective its own little way.
Overall Impression — 10
Put simply, this is why I feel this is the best album they have ever penned: The exotic scale behind the solo to Vision of Division. The low rumblings in the instrument used on Ask me Anything. The extended chorus to Ize of the World. The way the album feels like it's about to end, twice! It peaks at Vision of Division and slows down with Ask me Anything and then, it starts all over again with the superbly titled Electricityscape. Just when you think it's all over and it's time to turn off the CD player at 15 Minutes, it rips out another cracking tune, Ize of the World. The way the bass lines accompany the guitar parts and the super fast single foot kick drum so amiably. The lyrics that seem to just go on forever Ize of the World. I have never heard a song that can rhyme for so long as that. what's more, they all make perfect sense and are poetic but not overly poetic that it becomes pretentious. It hints on political atrocities instead of beating on them. It admonitions his own sadnesses but it fails to become to personal, and it builds up in such a way that you feel like standing along with the crescendo and his wailing and then, it cuts off!