Debut LP from New York's finest
After the disappointment of their recent LP Comedown Machine, I thought I'd dig out my US copy of their debut record Is This It. The album was released in October 2001 on RCA after the band had done some shows in the US and released The Modern Age EP, which triggered a mad rush to sign the band up.
I won't bore you with a write-up of the music as I'm sure you've all heard this album, so I'll get down to the business end.
First off is the sleeve and this US copy is instantly recognisable from the UK version by the different cover. The 'hand on arse' image was deemed a bit near the bone for the US market and was replaced with an image of particle collisions. The rear of the sleeve features a painting from 1924 by Jacques Carlu called 'View From The Citadel'. The rear of the EU sleeve is just a picture of the band having a nice stroll in the sun. The catalogue number on the spine is 07863 68045-1 and 68045-1 inside the gatefold sleeve. The inside of the gatefold features passport-style photos of each of the band members, Julian, Nick, Albert Jr, Fab and Nikolai along with producer Gordon Raphael, manager Ryan Gentles and 'guru' JP Bowersock. Gordon Raphael was also the producer on Room On Fire after the band left Nigel Godrich (he of Radiohead fame). Ryan Gentles gave up his job as the booker for the Mercury Lounge club in order to be the band's manager. There's also an extensive thanks list. The other side of the gatefold is plain black with some band and label credits. Neither EU release (either RCA or Rough Trade) have gatefold sleeves.
The record is housed in a plain white rounded inner sleeve, which sadly has been forced into the sleeve and is almost useless. It really, really annoys me when you open a sealed LP to find that some dick has either split the sleeve or creased an inner. It recently happened to my RSD copy of The White Stripes' Elephant but that's another story. The record also looked like it was used as a frisbee before it was packed. Covered with fingerprints, hairline marks and scuffs, it was unplayable when I first got it. However, several goings over with the Super Exstatic and a few dunks in the Disco-antistat has rescued this album from being confined to the shelf for eternity. If you haven't got one of those machines I highly recommend you get one – just throw the solution that comes with it away and get some L'Art du Son to replace it. Both labels have the band logo on but don't have a record label credit on them like the two EU releases do. Now clean, the record plays perfectly. The heavyweight vinyl is a joy to listen to. The album is quite treble-y on CD but there's definately more 'depth' to the bass and drums on this copy.
This record isn't particularly rare (the Rough Trade issue commands higher prices) but it should be in everyone's collection. It's one of those 'anytime anywhere' LPs.
- Is This It
- The Modern Age
- Barely Legal
- Alone, Together
- Last Nite
- Hard To Explain
- New York City Cops
- Trying Your Luck
- Take It Or Leave It
Side 1 – 07863-68045-1-REI-A RJ STERLING
Side 2 – 07863-68045-1-REI-B RJ STERLING