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The Strokes – Comedown Machine

The Strokes

So I guess that the time has come to talk about The Strokes. Perhaps the timing seems a bit peculiar, their latest album Comedown Machine was released last month after all (albeit the tail end); but the time feels right.  How to start this off though.

The Strokes

A stroke of genius granted the already accomplished The Strokes the edge when it came to to their first live concert (2014– clearly we can tell the future) since 2011. Better and stronger than ever before.

The Strokes… they’re a big deal, there is a lot of history in those two innocuous little words. It can be hard to judge an album on it’s own merit when there is such a foundation of glory supporting it; and indeed if you were expecting a hark back to the “old” Strokes then this album is probably not going to be a favourite for 2013. That’s not to say that if you loved The Strokes in years gone by that you’ll hate the entire album, tracks like “Welcome To Japan,” “All The Time” and “50 50” will definitely hold some appeal. It’s just that there are curve-balls thrown in, songs like Slow Animals where long established fans have turned to stare curiously at their sound system when it came on, as if the CD had somehow changed without instruction to do so.

Comedown Machine is a new approach for The Strokes, whether that is a good thing or not is hard to decide. No doubt fans would have been overjoyed to have received an album that reminded them of years gone by, but you couldn’t exactly call Comedown Machine bad.

“It’s like someone who you had a crush on in high school and when you meet again for the first time a decade later at your 10th high school reunion, you’re a bit disappointed. Leading up to the reunion, you had hoped perhaps the old flame could be reignited. And then it doesn’t happen; it’s completely different than you imagined. You both still had a good time, but it wasn’t anything like you hoped, and yet you’re not exactly sure how to explain it all.”- Indie Rock Cafe

There is a vague disappointment when you listen to Comedown Machine and it’s hard to pin down where the feeling comes from. You’re still enjoying the music, but for the most part it is not the kind of album that you put on when you’re in the mood for The Strokes.

At the end of the day I guess it comes down to personal preference: you may love it, you may hate it or your level of appreciation could fluctuate depending on the day.

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April 11, 2013