The Strokes : 12:51
We’ve missed you, boys...
The thing about The Strokes is, they’re just so damnably perfect as a pop group that it can make all the other ones seem a little, well, extraneous. I mean, two of them have got curly hair and half of them are posh, a couple of the all-time great pop crimes, and still the world falls at their socks-n-sandaled feet to beg for the merest crumb from the corner of their mouths, the tiniest fleck of lint from their delicately haired belly buttons.
Two years have passed since ‘Is This It’ blew up in our faces and it’s sometimes easy to forget what a climactic change The Strokes have affected. Like punk, like acid house, like grunge, the NYC five-piece and the bands, attitudes and ideals they’ve propelled in their wake have, frankly, reinvented music. It’s the Year Zero factor and the imminent release of ‘Room On Fire’ can only reinforce the feeling that The Strokes can do whatever the fuck they like right now and we will love it. Thankfully, whatever the fuck they liked turned out to be making the album of the year.
Anyhoo, the first glimpse of ‘Room…’ many people will get is ‘12:51’, but it doesn’t want you to fall in love with it on contact. No, that would be way too easy. Instead it approaches you sideways, Julian’s voice way down in the mix as he complains about how, “Friday night’s a bit lonely”, but when you look closely you see the real beauty in the half-hidden handclaps, the counter-melody guitar line you’ll be humming in your sleep and Fab’s Ringo-like cymbal-abuse which sends the whole thing hurtling skyward.
Two minutes thirty four seconds later it’s over, not an ounce of fat on its bones. God, we’ve missed you, boys.
To read all our reviews first - days before they appear online - check out NME magazine, on sale every Wednesday