The Strokes
Comedown Machine

Released: 25th March 2013
Label: Rough Trade

‘Comedown Machine', album number five from The Strokes, is this something we should all be getting excited about and care about? The Strokes undoubtedly changed the face of popular music and culture with their debut ‘Is This It’ back in 2001, but have spent a lot of the time post ‘Is This It’ never quite managing to hold onto the glory of that incredible debut album. However, the fact that The Strokes gave the world ‘Is This It’ means that this is a band that we will always care about and are a band that every new release will raise excitement in my life, even if that excitement can easily be deflated as was the case with ‘Angels’ in 2011, an album that I gave one listen to and have not returned to since.

Thankfully ‘Comedown Machine’ has not left me feeling deflated, quite the opposite, on what must now be my tenth listen I feel that same level of excitement I had with the first listen. Quite simply ‘Comedown Machine’ is an album that has the sound of a band having fun from start to finish. Through the 38 minutes of this album each member of the band sound like they are enjoying themselves, something that does not seem to have happened for some time in The Strokes.

‘Comedown Machine’ has a very 80s sound to it, which will not come as a great surprise to many. Julian has never shied away from his love of 80s music. You would be forgiven for thinking that ‘One Way Trigger’ is not ‘Take On Me’ by Ah Ha. Just like the Ah Ha song that influenced ‘One Way Trigger, this is a great pop song and you will be hard pushed to find a better pop song than this all year.

The album has so many highlights, it is one great pop song after another that will be sure to make you glad to have The Strokes back having fun. The melodies and passion in Julian's vocals are better than they have been for some time. If I was forced to pick a handful of standout tracks I would go for ‘All The Time’ which instantly builds into a memorable chorus and would not have sounded out of place on ‘Is This It’, ‘80s Comedown Machine’ a beautiful ballad that allows you to drift away to a place of pure contentment, ‘Slow Animal’ and ‘Welcome To Japan’ both of which are captivating pieces of pop and ‘Chances’, an atmospheric song that will send shivers throughout your body.

‘Comedown Machine’ is not an album that will change the world, The Strokes have already done that once and to do it twice would be greedy. ‘Comedown Machine’ is a very welcome return to form for a band that I will always love.

Steve Tay

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