Music
Strokes "Comedown Machine" Hit Or Miss
By Sami Mello
Mar 27, 2013 - 10:11:25 AM

NEW YORKThe Strokes new album, “Comedown Machine,” hit the shelves Tuesday, March 26, making it their fifth and final album with RCA.

Upon first listen, one might be fooled into thinking “Comedown Machine” is The Strokes most danceable record yet. However, after listening to the 11 tracks on the album, it is clear that The Strokes haven’t produced anything special over the past two years.

This may be due to the fact that Julian Casablancas, the groups front man and notorious control-freak, loosened up on this album and allowed his band mates to contribute to the songwriting process.

Having band mates share credits for writing songs is still something relatively new to the Strokes. They experimented with group songwriting on their last album, “Angles,” and continued on “Comedown Machine.” This may be the reason some of the songs have a relatively experimental sound.

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The Strokes. Photo courtesy of Facebook.
The first song on the album, “Tap Out,” opens with a funk-inspired
guitar riff and a catchy 80s style rhythm that sounds like something off of an old Blondie record. 

If it wasn’t for the diverse and playful styling of guitarist, Albert Hammond Jr., “Comedown Machine” would have no depth. Just when the energy on some tracks starts to fade, Hammond Jr. swoops in with his elaborate, space rock, guitar solos and gives the album some redemption.

The second song on the album, “All The Time,” is a return to the Strokes’ classic, hard rock sound. Casablanca’s signature deep croon adds sincerity and emotion to the track while Fabrizio Moretti’s heavy drumming adds a sense of urgency.  

The song, “One Way Trigger,” takes a page out of the Muse playbook. The song opens with a high tempo drum beat and an intense, retro keyboard lead, over which Casablancas belts out lyrics in an uncanny falsetto, similar to the vocals of Robert Smith from The Cure.

Almost half way through the album, it seems like some of the songs on “Comedown Machine” sound like they should have been included on the “Tron” soundtrack.

“Welcome to Japan,” is a lo-fi dance hit, with a modern disco feel, reminiscent of early Franz Ferdinand. A lot of the songs on the album are slow and drawn out and could have been easily featured on previous Strokes' albums.

It is evident that The Strokes are still searching for that undeniable 80s vibe in their sound. At times this can be overbearing, making the songs on “Comedown Machine” feel like leftover material.  

In the end, the Strokes have completely abandoned their, broken-down, pulsating,  retro-rock sound that made them innovators when they first debuted in 2001. Fans of early Strokes albums, “Is This It?” and “Room On Fire” might find “Comedown Machine” to be a hard listen.



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