Review: The Strokes – Comedown Machine

The Strokes’ new album comes with their classic sounds and a few surprises, but does it live up to favourite Is This It?

Georgina Deacon
 
It’s been two years since The Strokes released their last album, Angles, which for many fans of the band was a huge disappointment. 
 
Now they’re back with Comedown Machine, an album that will please those who crave more of the classic Strokes’ sound, while providing some surprises.
 
Noughties nostalgia
 
The album opens up with Tap Out, a steady but storming track with a great riff that will have you humming along before you know it. 
 
Next up is All The Time, the “good” single. It is packed full of noughties nostalgia which takes fans back to the sounds of the past. The energy of the track would have been right at home on third album, First Impressions of Earth.
 
“What kind of asshole drives a Lotus?”
 
Other impressive tracks include Welcome To Japan, a dark and brooding track with a catchy chorus that will have you shouting: “Didn’t really know this / What kind of asshole drives a Lotus?”
 
Somehow this odd mix of funk and rock really works for The Strokes. 
Another powerful tune is 50/50, a stomping song, screaming in your face so hard you can almost feel lead singer Julian Casablancas’ spit dripping off your nose. It’s relentless in demanding your attention and just won’t give in until you’re giving it 100 per cent.
 
False sense of security
 
All of these brilliant tracks are merely speckled highlights of Comedown Machine, rather than each of the 11 songs glistening like pearls in the indie oyster album. One Way Trigger offers something that will make you feel slightly uncomfortable. 
 
Casablancas sings – or rather whines – in a tone that will make you wince more than once. Another disappointing addition is 80s Comedown Machine where the album falls down slightly. 
 
The repetitive, almost monotonous, guitar hypnotises you into a false sense of security and before you know it, you’ve listened to all five and a half minutes of it.
 
Prepare yourself
 
The album ends with Call It Fate, Call It Karma, which is not as explosive as one would hope. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. It’s like lounge-room music and sounds rather out of place on this album.
 
The problem with The Strokes is that they will always get compared to 2002’s Is This It – and they haven’t won any awards since 2006. They seem to have lost their charm somewhat, but have always managed to pull something out of the bag on each album since. 
 
For any big fans of the band, Comedown Machine is worth the money, but perhaps prepare yourself for a little disappointment. 
 
Comedown Machine is released on March 25.

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