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By James Cerche
27th March 2013

Everyone remembers their first time with the Strokes: the hair, the denim, the converse, the ties with leather jackets. Labelled as the saviours of rock and roll in 2001, their album ‘Is This It’ is a frequently imitated and rarely bettered modern classic. The sound of Julian Casablancas, drawling though a bad telephone connection and the jangly interplay of guitarists Nick Valensi and Albert Hammond Jr remains as charming as when it appeared to redefine “cool” 12 years ago. So how are the boys sounding now on their freshly released 5th LP?

They’re still cool. A quick Google search will confirm this visually, and the new album more than speaks for itself. ‘Comedown Machine’ hits all the right points in progress and reflection. Everything we love about the band is intact and the new ground they began to brace with 2011’s ‘Angles’ is added to as well.


Beginning with a low-fi screech, ‘Tap Down’ gives way to an instant groove so catchy that you can’t help but bop along. There’s swagger and strut aplenty as Casablancas gets to grips with his falsetto for the first of many occasions on the record. It grits up for the chorus with Fabrizio Moretti’s snappy drums, but all the while manages to remain devilishly smooth. ‘All The Time’ is pure classic Strokes, circa ‘Is This It’, and by the time Casablancas is growling his way through the first chorus, it’s hard not to feel optimistic about the record to follow.

The 40 minute LP really does have it all. ‘One Way Trigger’ (the publicly divisive first single that worried as many as it intrigued) follows on where ‘Angles’ left off with a snythy dance feel and more falsetto. This attitude also surfaces in the long slow burning ‘80s Comedown Machine,’ complete with electric drums and swirling guitar loops. ‘Welcome to Japan’ is catchy, upbeat and sports a neat build-up that keeps things interesting, while ‘50 50’ turns the volume back up with a burst of proto-punk aggression. Album closer ‘Call It Fate, Call It Karma’ is a strange beast, offering nods to everything from elevator music to 1920s jazz clubs, demonstrating that there’s plenty of creative chops left in the band for future endeavours.

Everything we love about the band is intact.

This might be the record everyone wanted them to make, and certainly warrants plenty of attention even if it isn’t. The Strokes are definitely alive, kicking and cool as ever.

BAND: The Strokes
MEMBERS: Julian Casablancas
Albert Hammond Jr
Nick Valensi
Fabrizio Moretti
Nikolai Fraiture
FORMED: 1998
FROM: New York
SOUND: Garage Rock
FACEBOOK: thestrokes
TWITTER: @thestrokes
INSTAGRAM: @thestrokes
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