New York's finest: The Strokes are Manhattan's first big rock & roll thrill of the year, five bad lads already going worldwide with the glamour and twitch of their three-song demo, now an official British single, "The Modern Age" (Rough Trade, CD). The band plays a tightly wound aggregate of '65 snap, '79 rumble and forward sass, mined with literal homage: "Last Nite" leaps like an electrocuted spoonful of the Jam's "A Town Called Malice," and singer Julian Casablancas barks with the parched conviction of Lou Reed and the Fall's Mark E. Smith. But the hard candy in the hooks and bridges of "Barely Legal" and the title blast (imagine Mission of Burma with sex appeal) prove that the Strokes are far more than the sum of their ancestry. I've seen 'em live, too–they definitely have an album of this stuff in them.
This story is from the March 15th, 2001 issue of Rolling Stone.