Released: Mar 26, 2013
Genre: Indie Rock, New Wave
Number Of Tracks: 11
Very eclectic, even genre-defying at times, The Strokes have come a long way from the garage rock of their early career.
Comedown MachineFeatured review by: UG Team, on march 21, 2013 3 of 4 people found this review helpful
Sound: The Strokes formed in NYC and released their debut album, "Is This It", in 2001. Their initial sound was a refreshing melodic garage rock sound that made a nice contrast to the nu-metal that was prevalent at the time. Since then The Strokes have had their ups and downs, solo and side projects, and changes to their overall sound. From album to album the biggest change was with the release of the album "Angles" in 2011. Their fourth studio release, "Angles", was the first release in 5 years when it came out and brought a much more polished sound than their previous releases, also being a good deal more eclectic, but still absolutely The Strokes. "Comedown Machine" is the fifth studio release by The Strokes, and almost unrecognizable as themselves when compared to their earlier releases. There are 11 tracks on the album with a runtime of just under 40 minutes. The first single from the album was the track "All The Time" and was released on 02/14/2013.
I went into this album expecting something along the lines of what The Strokes gave us with "Angles", but what I got was something different. After my first listen I just wrote down some words like free association to describe the album the one that came out first was New Wave. I'm not saying that "Comedown Machine" is New Wave music, necessarily, but there are definitely elements of the genre throughout the album. While there are a lot of electronic elements on the album, you can still hear the guitars throughout and some of the "keyboard" sounds are probably guitar played to sound like keyboard (similar to the same trick that Valensi used on the track "12:51" from the album "Room On Fire"). Probably the closest track to the sound I think of as The Strokes on this album is the single "All The Time". As I listened to the album I was not pulled in at first, but at the core you can still hear the voice of The Strokes if you listen hard enough. This album may alienate some fans, but personally it grew on me more and more with subsequent listens. // 7
Lyrics: Julian Casablanca's vocals are delivered with less force than I am used to hearing from him. Through most of the album there is an almost soft, silky texture to his singing. This singing style does fit the album fairly well, but I personally enjoy his voice more when he is really belting out his lyrics. On the track "Chances", he even sings part of the song in falsetto. There are, of course, moments when Julian's vocal delivery is more in line with his familiar belting delivery, such as a few lines in "All The Time" and "Partners In Crime". Albert Hammond, Jr and Nick Valensi do a solid job with backing vocals on the album, but nothing that really stands out as phenomenal.
A lot of the lyrics on the album seem pretty random to me, and when they aren't random they are still pretty surreal. As a sample from the track "Tap Out" we have: "They found our city under the water/ gotta get my hands on something new/ you don't want to be without this/ something isn't adding up." Then, here is some more randomness from the track "Chances": "When the night isn't ready for you/ it's a feeling I know that dogs you/ they invited a stewardess, too/ now they want you to see it/ here's to days he decides he's got time/ and he claims that it's not a surprise/ when he finds out the truth is on his side." Maybe I'm not hearing these lyrics right like I'm missing key words that make these lyrics all fit in together and say something. Or maybe these songs are so "deep" that they're going over my head. Regardless, the lyrics are what they are, and the syllables fit the music so I guess that is okay. // 7
Overall Impression: This isn't going to be one of my "top picks of 2013" for sure but it isn't bad. As I listened to the album with an open mind it grew on me little by little. My favorite tracks from the album would probably have to be "All The Time", "50/50", and "Partners In Crime". My least favorite would probably be the opening track, "Tap Out". I've had a love/hate relationship with the track "Happy Ending" because something about it brought to mind "Take On Me" by A-Ha in a way that was really distracting, but the song was catchy in a pleasant kind of way. I found myself initially feeling nostalgic for The Strokes I came to know with "Is This It", but as I listened to the album I did hear the value in this album. It isn't holding my attention like their earlier stuff did and is probably my least favorite album they've released, but there were high points in the album, too. The guitar work was pretty original and I really enjoyed the few short solos, especially on the track "Tap Out" despite disliking the rest of the song. In the end I have very mixed feelings about the album, and I don't want to discourage anyone from listening to it, but don't expect to hear the new "Last Nite" on here. // 7
JoshElliott27, on august 03, 2015 2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: The sound of this album, like all of their other albums is very distinct and different from their previous ventures. On their first two albums, Julian and mates were going for a very straight forward sound that would immediately grab the listener due to its punchy hooks and catchy choruses. These factors that were lost on the 3rd album are returned to on "Comedown Machine." Every song sounds like a distinct Strokes song, encompassing Julian's weird but compelling vocals. Julian's vocals never get boring, and each song utilizes them in a different way. Julian has never really attempted the things that he does in this album, and is some way that has become polarizing for their fans. His falsetto on songs like "One Way Trigger," "Tap Out," "Call It Fate" are prime examples of how talented this man is. Also, the return to the original Strokes sound is most noticeable in songs like "All the Time," "One Way Trigger," "Happy Ending," and "Welcome to Japan." // 8
Lyrics: The lyrics are always special thanks to Julian. No one has the ability. It's and discipline that Julian has to write a perfect song. Everything from the line on the opening track "Tap Out" "we don't have to know each other's names" saying how we can have a good time without knowing each other's names, to "One Way Trigger" "but there's a million reasons to leave" which encompasses the urgency that The Strokes are known for. The song writing is shared between all the band members, with their guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. Actually writing the guitar and lyrics for "One Way Trigger." // 7
Overall Impression: Overall, I would say this is my favourite Strokes album and probably one of my favourites of all time. It's a perfect mix of modern music with the same urgent music that the strokes are known for. This album has gotten a bad rep due to the different sound it has from its predecessors, but it's still in the same level. If anything, songs like "One Way Trigger," "Welcome to Japan," "Chances" and "Happy Ending" are some of the best songs I've heard from The Strokes. Hope you get the chance to listen and jam to this album as well! // 8
Boomer904, on april 10, 2013 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: The Strokes have a completely new sound with this album but it still sounds like the same Strokes that we have come to know and love. They take us back to the '80s with synths and more electronics than their earlier albums. This has a feel of "Angles" all over again, but is a much more complete album and, in my opinion, is much better. This album may not WOW you like "Is This It" or "Room On Fire" but if you are already a huge Strokes fan like I am, this album is a must buy.
It's hard to notice the overall talent that this band has, that they can have a completely new sound like in "80's Comedown Machine" but still go back to some of their old stuff like in "50/50". This diversity on the record is great and with more and more listens, fans can have a new favorite song every time they listen to it. Though it does not have the same fast thrashing guitars that I loved on the first Three albums, their chemistry is undeniable and slowing down wasn't as bad as thought it would be. // 9
Lyrics: Casablanca's lyrics are always perfect for every track he does, and this album is no exception. He stays on point and brings all the sounds together in an excellent manner. He brings more attention to the high notes in "Tap Out" and "One Way Trigger" that he barely even touched on any other record. Though I miss the soft sound of his voice walking across the song effortlessly, I don't mind the direction he went with this album.
His lyrics touch on similar topics that he usually focuses on, with love always being his main point of interest. Overall my favorite song he sings is "50/50" since it has a similar sound to "Room On Fire". // 9
Overall Impression: The Strokes are one of the best bands out their and anything they do is a hit when they put it out. Compared to the crap that is coming out nowadays, it's nice to see that this band hasn't changed their sound so much that we can't even recognize it anymore. This is my third favorite album, behind "Room On Fire" and "Is This It". I could see this album hand in hand with "Angles" but this record surely has the upper hand. Early favorites are "50/50", "Partners In Crime" and "Chances". If you don't already have every other Strokes album I would recommend listening to the others first and then listen to this one. Overall, this is a great album that I have been waiting for too long. // 9