The Strokes | A Review of Comedown Machine

The Strokes have released their fifth album called Comedown Machine. As the title might suggest, Comedown Machine is a rather mellow album. It may in fact be The Strokes very first attempt at harnessing the relaxed musical vibes coming from the west coast, which is strange, given that The Strokes have always been considered a band that was rooted in the east coast NYC music scene.  The last track on the album, Call It Fate Call It Karma, reaches for what some call a beach goth vibe, a la The Growlers.  The majority of the album is similar to what listeners heard on Angels, the band’s last album, but it has a much more relaxed tone.

The major difference between Angles and Comedown Machine, at least in terms of vocal style, is the way Casablancas favours hitting some very high notes. This choice of getting high and going big on this album may have the effect of turning off some fans but this same choice also results in some of the best payoffs on the album. One Way Trigger features Casablancas showing off his new found love of high octaves and it is by far the strongest song on the album. Another standout on this album is 80’s Comedown Machine which is more The Strokes in classic form; the long-time listeners of the band will most likely be drawn to this track because of its purposefully grainy vocals and heart pounding beat.  Partners in Crime is one of the album’s more delicate songs, it also features a few high notes sung by Casablancas but it’s the pacing, provided by the electronic instrumentals that elevates this track.  Happy Ending is a fun track but seems rather unpolished.  These songs have a cruel kind of calm to them that leaves the listener in a hazy state and are somewhat unsatisfying for long-time fans of The Strokes.  

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