The Strokes balanced great melodies and tight, energetic performances with the cleverly aloof and slightly unpredictable vocal of frontman Julian Casablancas. The band’s raw, swaggering debut, Is This It, followed the example of The Stooges and Velvet Underground.
The Projectors may be more reminiscent of Herman’s Hermits than The Stooges, but the band does have some pretty good songs on this newly released self-titled album. The singer, Dylan Rysstad, acknowledged the influence of The Strokes when he described writing these songs: “With the first couple songs, ’When the Lights Came Up’ and ‘Golden Age’, I really embraced certain influences and didn’t try to obscure or hide the fact that it was starting to sound like someone else. The songs I’ve been writing for this project are what I want to be playing and listening to, and somewhat ironically, I feel like it’s the most me, if that makes sense.”
It does make sense—influences are not hard to understand. The “someone else” is The Strokes, and though Rysstad seems to be defending himself here, everyone knows musicians connect with other music just like the rest of us.
More importantly, The Projectors are not straight ripping off The Strokes the way, say, Ed Sheeran ripped off Marvin Gaye. The Projectors are just not able to rip off The Strokes.
The band lacks qualities that made The Strokes debut so good—the energy, the rawness, the swagger. But the music has other well-done elements common to songs by The Strokes—songs like “You Can Only Wait,” “Golden Age,” and “Lost in Spaces” feature a choppy, jangly rhythm guitar, a lead guitar playing simple melody throughlines, and a solid, pulsing bass. This is a warm and sunny sound led by an easygoing, agreeable vocalist.
The Projectors are based in Victoria, British Columbia. The songs on this album were originally released in April 2022, but they have been remastered and now re-released as the band works toward bigger things.