The new year is barely a week old and we’re already getting excited about a number of new releases coming out. Now comes word that The Strokes’ first album in five years will come here sooner than expected.

Bassist Nikolai Fraiture told BBC’s Radio 1 on Wednesday that the album, the group’s fourth, should be out “by March.” But in some ways, fans should expect a step backwards, rather than forward. “Sonically, I feel it’s the album we should have made between [2003’s] ‘Room On Fire’ and [2006’s] ‘First Impressions on Earth.’”

“Earth” was the band’s last album and in the meantime, most of the members have released their own projects. That led to a little weirdness when it came time to come back together. “There was a lot of weird energy flowing around,” Fraiture said. “ There are different dynamics in the group in different ways.” For example, lead singer Julian Casablancas recorded his vocals without the band around. “Usually we’re always in a room and changing stuff and doing it all together,” Lowe said. “It’s all a learning experience.”

Lowe also said the band will undergo a world tour in support of the as-yet-untitled set.

We tagged The Strokes’ new set as one of the most anticipated for 2011. Check out our list here.