Comedown Machine is another solid release from a band who couldn’t care less what we write in the glossy mags and flickering blogs. The in-fighting and egomania’s been documented ad nauseum, and it might be said the Strokes are essentially making records to tour and touring to line their pockets. Speculation aside, this is in no way a throwaway record. It’s quite the opposite.
Nick Valensi and Albert Hammond’s guitars are as nasty as they’ve ever been, Fab is drumming like he’s got those robotic wasps from the Hunger Games in his pants, and Julian is out to try something new. He’s leaving the shredded screaming behind for a post-80’s falsetto croon, crafting a heap of tracks that sound like one hit wonder b-sides from compilation discs buried deep in the bargain bin. There’s a blatant Ah-ha rip, a few nods to the Cars and even a ballad that borrows from Little Joy’s hipstery ethos. Comedown Machine plays like a return to form by experimenting with new sounds, while leaning on their trademark energy.
Sit in judgement if you must, but remember. All good bands, especially those five records into their career, shouldn’t be looking to repeat themselves release after release. As long as they can tolerate one other, and as long as they’re selling out venues from California to Spain, we should welcome what they put to wax. Love it or hate it, it’s still more clever than most of the shit on the iTunes homepage.