I’ve always had some sympathy for The Strokes. I have no personal attachment with the band other than liking some of their music. But being a Stroke, despite having certain advantages, must also be a bit of a drag. Every Strokes record is judged by how it stands up to that era defining debut album Is This It? It’s rather akin to being put into an orange press with that weight of expectation. Fifteen years is a long time, especially when most of what followed (and certainly most that it inspired) was at best mediocre and at worst fucking dreadful.
Every Strokes record is judged by how it stands up to that era defining debut album Is This It? It’s rather akin to being put into an orange press with that weight of expectation.
But time can also squash any expectation, and there does seem to be some signs of life regarding The Strokes creative output. Recent EP, Future Present Past, wasn’t bad. It’s in the title, and for those of us waiting for some inspiration from the band, a couple of tracks on the EP were steeped in heavy Strokes nostalgia. And that folks, is when they sound at their best. Threat Of Joy is my highlight from the EP, a lovely Lou Reed-like laid back jangle. Yes, it possibly overstays it’s welcome, but the pleasure is found in the band acting comfortable in their own skin again, not trying to be something more.
Extra consolation can be found in the fun and very good looking video. Director Warren Fu manages to capture that essence of Strokes, the improbable white boy cool. It’s iconic – and yes – haven’t they aged well.