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When The Strokes released Is This It in 2001, it wasn't uncommon to hear them proclaimed as the saviors of modern rock ’n’ roll. Their sound was gritty and focused but also loose and impossibly catchy. Now, over a decade later, they are releasing their fifth album, and while they still have the ability to write captivating songs, their sound has taken on new, sometimes awkward, dimensions.

"All The Time," "Partners in Crime," and "Happy Ending" have some of the qualities that coursed through their early material: driving, energetic guitars; bouncy bass lines; and wry, witty lyrics from Julian Casablancas. Some of the other songs, however, dabble in atmospheric melancholy ("80's Comedown Machine," "Call It Fate Call It Karma"), new-wave synths ("Chances," "One Way Trigger), and aggressive punk breakdowns ("50/50"). This makes the album a sometimes off-putting blend of styles; yet Comedown Machine has its moments, and it is largely a fun listen from start to finish.

  • Album: Comedown Machine
  • Artist: The Strokes
  • Label: RCA
  • Songs: (1) Tap Out (2) All The Time (3) One Way Trigger (4) Welcome to Japan (5) 80's Comedown Machine (6) 50/50 (7) Slow Animals (8) Partners In Crime (9) Chances (10) Happy Ending (11) Call it Fate Call it Karma
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