The Strokes make a strong return on their fifth album, “Comedown Machine”


photo courtesy of RCA Records

The Strokes’s newest album combines their older influences with a newer style previously explored on their fourth album, “Angles.”

Megan Pohle, Staff Writer

Combining the old with the new, garage rock band The Strokes are back and better than ever, with the release of their fifth album, “Comedown Machine.” With an 80’s synth pop feel mixed with an alternative rock sound, this record is catchy while melodic, each song contributing to “Comedown Machine’s” rock character.

While The Strokes previous album, “Angles,” focused heavily on the band’s more experimental and creative side, “Comedown Machine” returns to the bands roots of guitar based hits with grungy vocals. Songs like “All the Time,” the albums lead single, show off a strong beat that emphasize lead singer Julian Casablancas’s vocals––reminding listeners of The Strokes sound during their second record, “Room on Fire.” Another song that resembles The Strokes younger selves is the fast paced and classic track, “50/50,” which features Casablancas’ screamingly grungy vocals following along to a clever and fresh guitar beat. This song is catchy and innovative, allowing The Strokes best qualities to shine.

“Partners in Crime” also follows this theme of an older sound, while still hinting at a newer and more matured Strokes. With an intense guitar opening, this track focuses heavily on every instrument, from a steady drum background to a touch of bass. “Partners in Crime” stands out on the album, proving that The Strokes sound has moved in a more steady musical direction.

RCA Records

While some of the album focuses on the old Strokes, much of it seems to be newer territory for this NYC band such as song “Welcome to Japan.” Drifting towards the 80’s synth theme the band brushed on in “Angles,” this track is one of the album’s best, containing a cleverly innovative beat, followed by a dance along chorus that will make any long time Strokes fan appreciate the new Strokes sound as much as the old.

The first track on the record, “Tap Out,” also contains this fresh new sound, featuring Casablancas’s falsetto, this song moves along to a bouncy and calculated guitar beat. Another single titled “One Way Trigger” also includes this calculated and jumpy beat, while moving at a faster pace that truly allows the band’s guitar talent to bleed through.

Though much of the album remains upbeat, songs such as “Call it Fate, Call it Karma” and “Chances” follow a slower and more melodic tune, even sounding romantic. The song sounds as if it could have come from an old movie in the 1950’s, with the rhythm of the song remaining in the background, following the theme of falsetto vocals. “Chances” may not be as melodic as the previous tune, but it still hints at a slower side of the album, with a more emotional chorus with surprisingly understandable lyrics, compared to the usual mumbling that sometimes comes with Casablancas’s voice.

With not one poor song, “Comedown Machine” confirms that The Strokes are on the rise, with nowhere to go but up. While these NYC garage rockers continue to gain fans, even after more than 10 years on the stage together, longtime listeners will appreciate the bands latest work, and can only hope for more to come from this alternative rock band.