Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Strokes: "Comedown Machine" (album review)

That's it!  The Strokes are officially no longer worth my time.  I thought after the atrocious Angles that the only place for this band to go was up.  Was I ever wrong, as they instead chose to continue their creative free fall.

One can't help but feel as though they've been transported back to 1982 with the proliferation of hollow beats and bad synths.  What I wouldn't give to hear actual drums on the record.  It's completely conceivable to see Albert Hammond Jr performing these songs with keytar in hand.  While the Yeah Yeah Yeahs managed to keep an edge, or even add to it, while adding synths, The Strokes have failed miserably.

The opening beats of the album come across as something Michael Jackson left on the cutting room floor during the Thriller session.  There's some peppy guitar on "All the Time", which gets wasted the the ugly-sounding keyboards.  Elsewhere, "Happy Ending" sounds like something that wasn't quite good enough for the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack.

The lone bright spot on the record is "50/50", a passable energetic fuzzy rocker.  It probably sounds better than it is when juxtaposed with the listless "80's Comedown Machine" that precedes it and the sloppy "Slow Animals" that follows.

Indie rock doesn't get much worse than "One Way Trigger".  Julian Casablancas' high-pitched vocals sound like nails on a chalkboard above the flat bloops and puffs of the arrangement.

It's sad to see what has become of The Strokes.  I held out hope that their various solo projects would've breathed new life into the band.  Instead, it seems as if those dalliances have acted as a poison.

Best tracks: N/A

Track listing for Comedown Machine:

  • Tap Out
  • All the Time
  • One Way Trigger
  • Welcome To Japan
  • 80's Comedown Machine
  • 50/50
  • Slow Animals
  • Partners In Crime
  • Chances
  • Happy Ending
  • Call It Fate, Call It Karma

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