“Comedown Machine” takes a step in the right direction

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The Strokes just released their 5th album “Comedown Machine” on March 26th.

By Amy Keum
Staff Writer

New York based indie rock band The Strokes have released their fifth album, Comedown Machine, which hit the shelves on March 26th. This latest release has improved by leaps and bounds from their last effort in 2011,  Angles, by bringing back their original sound which had once captivated listeners.

When the five-man band released their debut album Is This It in 2001, their sound became a sensation as the group transformed dull New York rock into a thrilling symphony of bright guitars and catchy tunes. They were seen as the saviors of rock music and their debut reached number 199 on Rolling Stone‘s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

They continued to satisfy audiences until their 2011 release, Angles, in which the band tried to introduce a new, more generic sound which resulted in many disappointed and critical fans. However, they have finally jumped back into their original 80’s based, upbeat indie rock sound that listeners have been yearning for.

Comedown Machine starts off with a solid track titled “Tap Out.” Like many of their other songs, it includes very sharp and quirky guitar work. It is not the most unique of songs, but it lays an adequate foundation for the rest of the very instrumental-based album.

Following is the more mediocre “All The Time.” Sounding very familiar to some of their past products, it doesn’t provide the audience with anything new, as do a few other songs on the album like “Chances” and “Happy Endings.” These three songs were the most disappointing, not because of the lack of skill included, but because of the lack of originality, which the band has always prided themselves on.

Although there are a few duds, the majority of Comedown Machine is beaming with gems such as “Welcome to Japan” and “One Way Trigger.”  Both are feel-good tracks, which include popping guitar sections and unique vocal arrangements from lead singer Julian Casablancas, who ventured out of his comfort zone vocally in this newest release. Showing off a falsetto, he hits some high notes adding to the dreaminess of the tracks.

For a more jam-out kind of beat, listen to “50/50,” a raw composition enhanced with shouty, rough vocals. The guitar, unlike many of the other tracks, strays away from the poppy notes and instead hits some rocky chords, that all add up to a strong song full of a raw drive.

The song on the album that best represents what The Strokes are all about is “Slow Animals.” It brings back the beloved, quirky touch that the group had once brought to the New York rock scene. The track maintains a mellow quality with a soothing blend of vocals, but keeps a sense of excitement with the complex and intricate notes of the guitar.

Overall, Comedown Machine is a solid album with a few duds and a chest full of racing tracks that return to the essence of the group that was once seen as the pioneers of contemporary indie rock.


Listen To: “Welcome to Japan”, “One Way Trigger”, “Slow Animals”, “Partners in Crime”