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Julian Casablancas 

Wednesday, Nov 11 2009

Long the Strokes' slurred voice of sleazy cool, Julian Casablancas has become the latest member of that band to indulge in a side project. In his case, it's an eight-song solo album, Phrazes for the Young. Swimming in retro synths and elastic guitar lines, it's a clear love letter to his '80s upbringing. Lead single "11th Dimension" pursues a jittering, summery slickness, while "River of Brakelights" crisscrosses biting melodies with overcaffeinated percussion. His vague lyrics exude dreamy imagery, and while it's not a fourth Strokes album — that's due sometime next year — it's damn fun.

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Doug Wallen


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