The Strokes Loves ’80s Nostalgia
The Strokes have returned to the music scene with their new album, “Comedown Machine,” just this past week. Wait, you didn’t know they were writing a new album? Well, they did, and it just so happens that it’s performed in an entirely different manner than their first three albums, also known as the era of “The Old Strokes”; this album features a sound that follows the ’80s fashion of “Angles,” their 2011 re-launch, and will possibly disappoint hardcore fans of the post-punk revivalists that were The Strokes of 2001 through 2006.
The album’s release was first announced to fans with the release of “One Way Trigger” early this year, causing much excitement among fans and critics. The song was mostly received with negative feedback, as it features a melody similar to A-Ha’s “Take On Me”; however, I feel that the song is a fresh and fun turn for the band, as it features new creativity with synths and falsetto-esque vocals by Julian Casablancas.
The album starts off in a similar fashion to “Angles’” “Machu Picchu,” with a fresh and camp groove in “Tap Out” that will cause bliss or the need to roll your eyes depending on if you liked “Angles.” Julian keeps his “kinda-drunk-or-hungover-yet-smooth” low vocals in this track while Albert Hammond Jr. (lead guitar, backing vocals) experiments with new ways of making his guitar groovy. The lead single, “All the Time,” feels like a cheap attempt to commemorate The Strokes’ first album, “Is This It,” and lacks any freshness. As a lead single, it feels old, tired and doesn’t represent the album well.
Luckily, “Welcome to Japan” proves to be the album’s best track. The song is full of grooves and features a tight rhythm section between bassist Nikolai Fraiture and Fabrizio Moretti. Moreover, the song features Julian’s best vocals with a hint of comedy in the somewhat cursive lyrics. The album’s semi-title track, “’80s Comedown Machine” is a slow and mellow song that correctly represents the album as a whole.
Fans of the old Strokes will be happy with the mentioned tracks, but will feel that it lacks the raw energy of their earlier days. This feeling is supported because the other latter part of the album, such as “Slow Animals,” “Chances” and “Call It Fate, Call It Karma” are mellowed down to sleepy levels, almost killing the drive of the entire album, which, at just under 40 minutes in length, feels extremely short.
Recommended: For fans that aren’t tied to their old sound and can appreciate the new.