How were The Strokes going to top 'Is This It',an album hailed as one of the greatest ever made.An album that made Rock n' roll cool again.An album that inspired a generation to pick up Guitars and create music.The answer was simple,it couldn't be done.No matter how hard they tried,The Strokes were always going to disappoint.
Recorded in New York with Producer Gordon Rapael between March and July 2003.'Room On Fire' was a critics favourite when first released and made quite a few end of year 'best of' lists.But over the next year,bands such as The Libertines,The White Stripes and Franz Ferdinand became just as loved and respected as The Strokes,making them just another Guitar band.'Room On Fire' tanked and The Strokes started to slowly fall off the radar.
Albert Hammond Jr.-Guitar
'Room On Fire' isn't a bad album,but at the same time it's not great.It's just basicaly 'Is This It' watered down.Opening track 'What ever happened' is a brilliant introduction.Fuzzy and tuneful,the track shows a harder edge to the band which was rarely seen on 'Is This It'.Casablancas' vocals are strong and confident,whlist his lyrics show him off as the shy laid-back guy he is (''I wanna be forgotten and I don't wanna be remind''
).Second track 'Reptilia' is up there with some of The Strokes' best work to date.Based around a fast and paranoid Guitar riff,the track swells and fade betweens each chorus.Musically it's simple and effective,the bass barely changes and Fab's drumming is some of his most basic to date but it all links to together perfectly.
First single '12:51' is one of the weakest track's on the whole album.Electro influened Guitar riff cover-up Casablancas' dreadful vocals.Fab does his usual (so easy a child could do it) simple drum beats whlist Hammond Jr does that same chugging Guitar effect he's done on nearly track the band have recorded to date.'12:51' is quite a good Pop song all the same but it's nothing to shout and rave about.
The pace gets picked up again with 'You Talk Way Too Much',a Blonde-meets-Velvet Underground Indie racket.Casablancas' vocals are back on form as well,so are his lyrics which maybe simple but work incredibly well ( Now we're out of time,I said it's my fault,It's my fault
).This is followed by the fantasic 'Between Love and Hate' with it's Reggae Guitars and catchy loops.It may be a slight departure for The Strokes but it doesn't really push things that far forward.
We all know The Strokes are not the most innovative or creative band around but on 'Room On Fire' the band aim to show off their softer side a little more.'Automatic Stop' and 'Under control' have both got great lyrics and Guitar work behide them but both seem very unecessary.Both tracks are a little rushed and uninspried.With Casablancas vocals sounding so easy going he could fall asleep.
But the finest moment on the album (in my opinon) is the frantic and Punky 'The Way It Is'.Bleedling with attitude and style,it rolls along unstoppable with it's pounding Drum and razor sharp Guitars.It's lyrics are viscous and cocky (''That's not your problem,That's not my problem''
).Clocking in at just 2 minutes and 22 seconds,'The Way It Is' is one of the finest song the band have made to the date,it should be heard by all.
After a album of highs and lows,you'd think that album closer 'I Can't Win' will be a classic send-off.But instead it's a watered down version of early track 'Soma' and would work better as a b-side.It's a unwanted return to the fuzzy lo-fi Indie of the debut.It's a rather dull ending to a half great album.
'Room On Fire' is a huge disappointment when you compere it to it's predecessor.Nothing much has been changed.The band has discovered a few new Guitar pedals and Julian Casablancas has got even lazier.It's really an album full of great moments rather than great songs.The Strokes need to do something new and they need to do it fast.
+Some great lyrics
+Simple yet decent drumming
+Great Poppier sound
-Terrible vocal work
-Same old sound
-I Can't Win
You Talk Way Too Much
What Ever Happened
The Way It Is
Between Love And Hate