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CD Review: The Strokes' 'First Impressions of Earth' get a thumbs up

| Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2006

How time flies! The Strokes' debut "Is This It" was the undisputed car-stereo soundtrack to the summer of 2001, before the towers fell, before singing along to "New York City Cops -- they ain't too sma-a-art" seemed like an act of treason.

Finally, somebody looked and sounded like a New York City band should -- unreachably cool, jaded, diffident, like pop-side Velvet Underground with Joey Ramone's ear for hooks.

But after a long-awaited and totally forgettable followup, it was easy to write these guys off as a brief, Knack-like explosion of ephemeral cool. But surprise, surprise -- the new record sizzles with long-supressed excitement. The hooks are subtler, the sound is fuller, the jaded pose more existential than cooler-than-thou. I don't recommend blasting "On the Other Side" or "Fear of Sleep" with the windows down in this weather, but it's tempting.

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