The Strokes

The great rock and roll swindle continues! Music journalist sheep still hold to their claim that we're in the middle of a rock and roll revival. Nonsense. Rock and roll would first have to go away in order to be revived, and anyone can tell you that, since 1955, rock and roll hasn't gone anywhere. It may fall in and out of favor with fair-weather trend fabricators like NME and Rolling Stone, but people who actually listen to music know better. And, by now, we must wonder if the Strokes know better, too. No doubt they're savvy enough. They're probably sick of the hype themselves, feeling somewhat suffocated by the time they got around to making their sophomore album, Room On Fire. What's going to happen to these five Manhattanites when the notoriously fickle music press turns on them? The Strokes have never pretended to be much other than what they are: harmless and not nearly as edgy as everyone wants them to be. But it's only fair to toast them and hope they can deal gracefully when the hype machine spits them out. In the meantime, there's something undeniably heady about watching a band perform at the height of its popularity. For a good idea of how their jangly, arid pop translates to the stage, don't trust a critic -- just see for yourself.

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Saby Reyes-Kulkarni