After what seems like an eternity, the garage-rock group The Strokes have finally released their fifth studio album entitled Comedown Machine. The Strokes manage to keep their flair but seem to use the same battle plan by working everything around their lead singer Julian Casablancas. Yes, it does work out but most of the spotlight seems to stay on him.
Comedown Machine probably has the best first half of music I have ever heard on an album. Almost every song is hard-hitting and the starting track “Tap Out” is no exception.The beginning of it has a screeching guitar riff that reaches out for an audience. This song also has an upbeat Indie feel that seems along the lines of the band Phoenix. The vocals are soft and smooth and the background vocal work is probably the best on the album. Nick Valensi and Albert Hammond, Jr. do a great job switching solos and riffs on guitar, all while balancing around Julian’s vocal work.
Some songs seem to go to the past for inspiration, like the song “One Way Trigger” that seems to have an ’80s pop feel that has a very visual and theatrical quality. When I first heard this track I was immediately surprised by how Julian’s falsetto sneaks in and makes this song grabs your attention and almost makes you want to hear the whole song in his highest range possible. He doesn’t dissapoint either, the chorus gives him wiggle room as he belts out advice to “Find a job, Find a friend, Find a home…”. This song almost seems too well executed. The bass line is so simple and rhythmic, the rhythm guitar just pushes waves of emotion and the lead guitar has a solo that seems to be communicating to the other instruments in an aggressive way almost like an argument or breakup is happening.
“Welcome to Japan” almost has the perfect qualifications for being the theme song for Starsky and Hutch or Charlie’s Angels. There is a solid and funky vibe to this song with bassist Nikolai Fraiture almost dominating everyone here in terms of boldness.
Overall, Comedown Machine is an acquired taste but hopefully the first half of the album will be enough to lure new fans and the second half will be enough to keep the old ones.