When The Strokes released their fourth LP titled Angles in 2011, I was disappointed (not severely so, but disappointed nonetheless). Where is the raw texture? Where is the careless attitude? Angles changed the Strokes’ sound, diversifying the classification of their music, and as far as I was concerned, it was for the worst. Now, The Strokes have released their newest LP Comedown Machine its appeal remains an enigma to me. Technically, Comedown Machine broadens the array of sounds utilized even on Angles and comes the furthest from being a classic Strokes album as any. For this reason, I can’t tell whether The Strokes have somehow formed their own niche within this chaotic sample of sounds or whether I myself have grown accustomed to their complete abandonment of their previous style because I enjoy Comedown Machine in most of its facets.
The album opens with “Tap Out,” a catchy song with a sound similar to hits on Angles like “Machu Picchu.” The groove and swagger on “Welcome to Japan” and the distortion and punk hook on “50/50” make two original highlights of the album. There are few dull moments on the album, although “Partners in Crime” becomes monotonous in its chorus and fails to keep the energy even. The main downfall of the album is its lackluster longevity. By the time I had gotten a hang of the overall fluidity of the album, it was over, leaving me to pick up the pieces. Comedown Machine closes with “Call it Fate, Call it Karma,” which consistently reminds me of some of the slower ballads on Little Joy’s 2008 release (Strokes drummer Fabrizio Moretti’s side project).
While Angles left me nostalgic about The Strokes’ first three releases, Comedown Machine leaves me excited for the future. Nevertheless, I am doubtful that The Strokes’ can play this game of expanding sounds forever. Thus far, the only element of their band that has remained constant is their timeless sense of style which, as far as I’m concerned, will always keep the fans coming back.
WGBK Rating: 7 out of 10