Sunday Suggestion – Julian Casablancas – River of Brakelights

For my first Sunday Suggestion of the year I’m going to blast back to 2009 when a certain Julian Casablancas set out to create his debut solo venture Phrazes For The Young and led many to question the future of The Strokes. However, if anything it was just Julian taking a breather to perhaps expand and explore his own musical direction which at that time was separate from The Strokes. I think many will probably look to ’11th Dimension’ as their stand out track and though it was a pretty successful single, the album did feature a lot of changes and alterations in tone and feel despite it being quite a short-lived album in length. My favourite track has to be ‘River of Brakelights’. It opens in the stuttered and staggering fashion with the off-cut synths and samples. As the cascading rhythm section overlaps it; the song begins to feel rather eerie with a sense of the mysterious about it. But as the reverbs kick in and the rhythm solidifies it becomes a lot more real with Julian’s vocal linking it all together. The bridge section has a rapidity and stepped up alertness that brilliantly throws you into the chorus. Here, Julian delivers one of most wholesome and tuneful vocals with the rhythm guitars latching on to the melodic hooks it provides. It then all so easily falls back into it’s disjointed allure that cradle Julian’s slick and well crafted lyrics easily.The second time of asking, everything is ramped up and turned up and the melody, the harmony and tuneful vocals are all enhanced further. It is a great track that showed that Julian was not just a frontman but a musician in his own right.

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