4 out of 5 stars

Okay, I’ll ask: is this the missing link between The Strokes’ first and second albums? The difference, musically speaking, between 2001’s Is This It? and 2003’s Room on Fire is huge, but First Impressions of Earth seems to fill the gap quite nicely, fitting in perfectly as a step from one to the other, despite following them both.

In fact, if I’m being honest I think I’ve enjoyed this album more than both their previous efforts. Combined.

As far as I’m concerned The Strokes have hit the nail on the head with their third major release. First Impressions of Earth is a collection of stunning songs which shows exactly what the group is capable of, while remaining perfectly balanced between the bands pop-rock roots and their more experimental tendencies.

Singer Julian Casablancas stands out on tracks like Vision of Division, Fear of Sleep and the wonderfully melodic opening track You Only Live Once, while the music is as tight as ever, driving the album like a finely-tuned sports car. If you are new to The Strokes, I would definitely check out First Impressions of Earth before looking into either of their previous albums. You won’t be disappointed.