Not everyone was bringing back the camp-fire vibe in 2001. (See yesterday’s track from Kings of Convenience) At the same time a New York band were making a concerted attempt to restore skinny jeans, new wave, punk, garage, and generally being or acting like you were too out of it to care what was cool, while just knowing you were.
The really notable thing about Is This It (apart from the Marvin Gaye-esque missing question mark) is that listening to it actually did make you a little bit cooler. It made you not care so much about the occasional chugging moments and enabled you to focus on the hooks. And the hooks were worthy of all the focus you could muster: The Modern Age thunks along for most of its running time, opening out only twice for the briefest of choruses, but it’s worth the wait every time. The second remarkable thing about Is This It is that it is just about cool enough to make you overlook its largely one-paced delivery and lack of variety: even the metronomic precision in each song’s rhythm can’t kill the vibe.
From the title song at the start, to Take it or Leave it at the end, it’s a constant groove, of which Last Nite is the peak. It’s the kind of song I would throw by default into any indie disco playlist any time, forgetting that it’s now more than a decade old, and, like many of my indie disco picks, only reveals how long it is since I hung up my shuffling shoes.