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Robbers on High Street

Fine Lines (Scratchie/New Line)

If it's true that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the Strokes should feel pretty stoked upon hearing this New York quartet's debut EP. Robbers Ben Trokan (vocals/guitar/keyboard), guitarist Steve Mercado, bassist Jeremy Phillips and drummer Tomer Danan seem to ape their more famous (and overrated) NYC brethren in just about every way -- from the lazy, affected vocals to the repetitive guitar strumming (especially on "A Night at Star Castle" and the even-keeled "If You Let Me").

For a band that hasn't been together even two years, Trokan's world-weariness seems forced. More rave-up and less resignation would have been useful on this album -- the band needs to cut loose a little more. Still, there are a number of decent cuts on the EP: The dirty work of "Hot Sluts (Say I Love You)" and the gentle, soothing ballad "Opal Ann" are highlights. And "Debonair," with lines "Who can tell the difference / Between debonair and lonely fear," seems to strike at something deeper. In the end, these musical thieves are at least competent, so it's certain that before long, one of them will be dating Drew Barrymore.

 
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