First Impressions of Earth
Things get started well enough with “You Only Live Once,” a track strong enough to have been a B-side from the Strokes’ first album, but it’s downhill from there. Vocalist Julian Casablancas can sound like a post-Stooges Iggy Pop, and, truth be told, he’s been more compelling than anything the grand Stooge has done in recent decades. But here the derivative streak continues without even equaling its various sources. “Killing Lies,” to take one example, sounds like a U2 cover band trying out its first originals. The songs have lengthened and lost their infectious hooks, perhaps in an attempt at maturity. Unfortunately, First Impressions is at its best when covering old terrain, on tracks like “Razorblade” and the aforementioned opener. The others aren’t awful but quickly become background music.