Sunday, 21 April 2013

The Strokes - Comedown Machine Review

The Strokes - Comedown Machine [Rock]

I will make it clear that I never enjoyed anything by the Strokes post "Is This It", because none sounded as refreshing as their debut. Before even listening to this album, one can deduce that this band is torn apart by multiple musical directions without actually settling on one, kinda echoing Radiohead in their past (and some may argue, in their future).

Many people talk about this album taking on multiple genres but I will be the first to say that is rubbish. Yes, the songs do sound very different (and that is a triumph for artistes in an age of stale song-writing) from one another, but at the end they manage to be, well... Strokes songs; catchy, simple and fun.

Julian Casablanca's vocals are polarising. I do not think they are fantastic at all on this album, he seems to be using the higher register more extensively than ever, but like it or not, his vocals are surprisingly well integrated into the songs, with him almost accentuating the melodies found in the music (case in point: 'Call It Fate, Call It Karma'). Instrumentally the album is a lot better than a lot of the indie artistes out there today, Albert and Nick are guitarists with substance and show their skill subtle ways rather than damage the songs.

When all this has been said, its pretty obvious that the band's main interest here is song-writing, and I would say it is so-so; enjoyable, melodic, but it will not pass the test of time. The melodies are safe, as evidenced in the all too familiar tones in 'One Way Trigger' which blatantly echo A-Ha's 'Take On Me', and the directions of the band see more like conquering new territory rather than creating them; the laidback chill factor of 'Welcome To Japan' (a song I may actually better understand now that I have been there), the synthpop on the retrospective title track, the danceability of 'Partners In Crime' and the closing track, which is my favourite song on the album, a song so strong it puts the rest of the album in a new light.

All in all, nothing groundbreaking, but surprisingly tasteful songs, which may make me reconsider my feelings for The Strokes.

Rating: ★★★★☆

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