Music Review: The Strokes, “Comedown Machine” (RCA)

The fact that they try new things on “Comedown Machine” suggests that The Strokes don't think they need to sound exactly like they did 12 years ago, and deserve credit for challenging the rigged expectations game.
Modified: March 28, 2013 at 3:56 pm •  Published: March 29, 2013

ROCK

The Strokes ‘Comedown Machine' (RCA)

The expectations placed on The Strokes are so gamed to predict failure that the downtown NYC band could put out a great album and not get due credit for it.

If they recorded an album that sounded like the precise garage rock of their landmark 2001 debut, critics would dismiss it as devoid of ideas, and if it was a total departure, many fans conditioned to expect more of the same from their pet bands would shrug their shoulders and move on.

For the most part, “Comedown Machine” is the latter. The Strokes barely sound like themselves on this fifth album, and when they do nod to “Is This It?” reasonable fans will wish they would stop.

They open with “Tap Out,” which, kid you not, is powered by a drum track seemingly modeled on either Michael Jackson's “Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'” or “The Rhythm Is Gonna Get You” by Miami Sound Machine. But it works, kicking The Strokes into a skuzzy reverie, as does the hyperkinetic synth-pop on “One Way Trigger.”

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