Record review: The Strokes – Comedown Machine (2013, LP)

The-Strokes-Comedown-Machine

There are very few landmarks in music these days; sometimes it feels like every riff and rhyme has been done to death. Luckily long-time lo-fi indie darlings The Strokes still know how to make releasing an album feel like an event. Done and dusted in 39 minutes, Comedown Machine is the final recording in the band’s deal with long-time label RCA, which – coupled with recent internal conflict – has prompted plenty of speculation about the band’s future. Unlike 2011’s Angles, it was put together by all five band members in one studio at the same time, not via e-mail and express post. The album sees the quintet take a definite step away from the 1977 New York sound of earlier efforts and towards a more ’80s electronic pop kind of feel, as on catchy pop-noir opener ‘Tap Out’ and the mazy title track. That’s not to say they can’t still do indie guitar rock better than most others. Second track ‘All The Time’ sounds like all the best parts of 2003’s Room on Fire fused together in one song, and 50/50 spews snotty punk attitude by the bucket load. Later track ‘Chances’ has Julian Casablancas indulging in some questionable falsetto vocals, but that aside, this is a fine collection of songs. Whether there will be another Strokes album remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure: if Comedown Machine is the final nail in the coffin of the band’s distinguished career, they are going out on a triumphant, all-conquering high. (RCA/Rough Trade)

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