Phrazes for the Young is a new album from Julian Casablancas, lead singer of The Strokes. I think many people will enjoy the fact that his side project evokes memories of First Impressions of Earth. "Hooray!" they'll think. "Something new from The Strokes!" And frankly, that's all it evokes in my mind, because on it's own, you can't listen to this album and not think: "This is totally still The Strokes!" Truth is, I wish this was The Strokes. It presents the perfect evolution that
I would expect from this group based on the 3+ years of music that have transpired since they released their last album. Throughout Julian Casablancas' new album, I hear hints of the new-wave-indie-80s-synth-pop that is currently enveloping the music scene (listening to the song above, Left & Right in the Dark, should make this clear). The product is both rewarding and refreshing -- who doesn't like a group experimenting with new sounds?
Not all of this is good, though. For example, for the first five minutes of the album, I was worried that everything I have just said above would not become true. Sure, I didn't have the foresight to tracks two and three, but for a while I was convinced that I was about to listen to a dull album from The Strokes. And that, unfortunately, is a trend that occurs occasionally throughout the rest of the album. 4 Chords of the Apocalypse is trying too hard, while the Irish ballad sound of Ludlow St. puts a strain on my attention span. But I can't let that get me down too much, because the bridges on this album (both aforementioned tracks included), do a fine job of making it all better.
At the very least, it's worth checking out the free stream on his myspace. Otherwise, the album drops November 3rd, 2009.