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Phrazes for the Young
Julian Casablancas Phrazes for the Young
Released 2 November 2009
Producer Jason Lader
Label Rough Trade
Length 39:49
Genre Alt rock
Website www.juliancasablancas.com

The Strokes exploded onto the music scene in 2001 with their universally acclaimed album Is This it. At the time they were regarded as the saviours of rock music with their instantly catchy anthems and effortlessly cool image. Two below par offerings in 2003’s Room on Fire and 2005’s First Impressions of Earth and the initial promise of their debut was quickly forgotten. With their fourth studio album in limbo, front man and chief songwriter, Julian Casablancas, has decided to use this time of indecision to release his first solo album.

At eight tracks and just under forty minutes Phrazes for the Young is not exactly an epic journey - more an enjoyable excursion. To flesh out the running time all songs clock in at over four minutes bringing mixed results. The uplifting electro rock of ‘Left & Right in the Dark’ could have been dragged out to ten minutes long with few complaints. The same cannot be said about southern soul ballad ‘4 Chords of the Apocalypse’ which overstays its welcome by about two minutes. This is a minor issue though; the songwriting remains at a constant high standard throughout providing a welcome return to form for Casablancas.

Although not as edgy as earlier releases, Phrazes for the Young is a much more mature work that should go some way to winning back the disenfranchised fans. In the press Casablancas has remained positive about the new Strokes album, but on the strength of this album you’d have to wonder if he is already weighing up his options.

- Brian Kinsella