There's no doubt in my mind that there will be pissed off Strokes fans after hearing this record. First Impressions of Earth copped a lot of hate just because the band tried to expand their sound. Well, now they've gone and completely changed it. But you know what? It kinda worked.
The real high points of the album come early. Opener 'Machu Picchu' has a nice, cohesive blend of keyboards and guitars, with a catchy bassline to match. 'Under Cover of Darkness', has a great memorable riff here, a great memorable riff there, and a diabolical chorus that just oozes brilliance. It feels like they finally nailed the expansion on their classic sound that they tried so hard to achieve on First Impressions of Earth. 'Two Kinds of Happiness' is notable for its distinctive electronic drums that lead into a surprisingly fast-paced chorus. 'You're So Right', while far batter than the demo version, is still a weak track that sounds out of place, though it does have a nice guitar solo. 'Taken For a Fool' is a bit of a sleeper track that didn't really stand out to me at first, but after re-listening, it feels like it could've been a single for Room On Fire. 'Games' and 'Call Me Back' are the points where the album loses its momentum. 'Life Is So Simple in the Moonlight', the album closer, is a simply wonderful song, not much more to say.
The Strokes have arguably suffered from the 'debut album' syndrome worse than any other band over the past decade. I see this as each album having a single standout track with several nice accompanying tracks skewed across the rest of the album, while Is This It felt more like a collection of stand out tracks. Still, that's not to say The Strokes have only one worthwhile album. I honestly believe they have four.