by Ali Glembocki
The Strokes have finally gone pop. And it’s not such a bad thing, guys.
The album opens with “Tap Out,” a catchy omen for bright, toe-tapping things to come. It reads more “STRFKR” than “I WANT TO FK JULIAN CASABLANCAS,” which is a sentiment that sets the tone for the rest of the record. For the “hardcore,” leather-jacket-wearing set of fans, Comedown Machine will mark the day that the Strokes sold out. For those of us opting for vegan leather and dabbling in quinoa, Comedown Machine will emerge a chart topper on our iTunes playcounts.
This album isn’t quite a sexy listen, but it’s considerably more fun than its most recent predecessors. Case-in-point: “Welcome to Japan,” in which Casablancas begs the question, “What kind of asshole drives a Lotus?” and sassily states, “Welcome to Japan.”
The first official single “All the Time” sounds like Green Day on a good day,
displaying a thrashing guitar riff and repeated, barked vocals. “One Way Trigger” boasts a screeching falsetto starkly different than the usual angsty vocal stylings of Casablancas, and yet it’s easily the most infectious song on the album. You’ll be cursing yourself for not being able to hit the dog whistle-high notes as you sing along.
Things get supremely un-Strokesy in “80s Comedown Machine,” which sounds like it could be in a Nissan commercial or a Silver Linings Playbook trailer.
The most delicious morsel of vintage Strokes can be found on the track “50 50,” a jam you could genuinely mosh to. Casablancas utilizes his beloved lower register, and growls out lyrics that constantly battle the hot guitar riff. Oh, nostalgia. The Strokes seem to be taking the road most travelled these days, and it’s made all the difference. It’s a real mixed blessing.
3 1/2 Q-Tips