The Strokes: Comedown Machine
The Strokes’ last album, 2011’s Angles, came almost unexpectedly, released after a five-year lag that seemed to suggest that the New York rock band might have disengaged. Comedown Machine arrives more quickly but offers a grander shift in direction than its predecessor. The disc, the band’s fourth album since 2001’s raucous This Is It, removes itself further from The Strokes’ formative garage rock sensibility, featuring notable synth blips and processed vocals. Indeed, singer Julian Casablancas is nearly unrecognizable, particularly on flagship single “One Way Trigger,” where he replaces his unabashed yelp with airy, filtered pop vocals. An â€˜80s tone pervades (see: electro-ambient number “Chances” ), and Comedown Machine ultimately feels watered down. Where’s the angular grit that The Strokes surged into their tracks on previous releases? Where’s the wide-eyed fervor? There are some moderately catchy moments on Comedown Machine, but it might be one of those albums where the songs feel more alive onstage.