NME posted its review of The Strokes’ new record, in a guide-style online post. You can read the full thing here.
I’m going to go line-for-line and pick out what I feel are the most important parts of the review.
But first, a message from Albert about the importance of reviewing a Strokes record on the 10th or 15th listen and not the first, like NME…
— Albert Hammond, Jr. (@alberthammondjr) February 7, 2013
Track 1 — Tap Out
Fair warning: broadly speaking, ‘Comedown Machine’ is probably the least-like themselves The Strokes have ever sounded. That’ll be an instant red flag to anyone longing for a return to the aesthetic of the first two albums, but in the name of artistic integrity (read: their frontman’s love of keyboards) they’ve pushed forwards, and ’Tap Out’ is proof that it needn’t be a bad thing.
Track 2 — All the Time
from the way it collapses into motion with a sudden percussive jolt, to Nick Valensi’s serpentine guitar solo, to the unmistakable ‘Room On Fire’ vibe running throughout, this is rock ’n’ roll as only The Strokes can do it.
Track 3 — One Way Trigger
Well it’s certainly… different.
Track 4 — Welcome to Japan
Uh-oh, it looks like someone’s done gone come down with a dose of da funk.
Track 5 — 80’s Comedown Machine
Sure enough, the mellotron isn’t far behind, doing that phantasmal ’Strawberry Fields’ thing which seems to be the instrument’s sole purpose…And it’s all a bit… weird.
Track 6 — 50/50
It seems likely that this’ll become a live favourite, and possibly even a future single: it’s got the same sort of ferociousness and intensity that ‘Reptilia’ was blessed with.
Track 7 — Slow Animals
On an album full of ‘growers’, this is the one song that’s a little ‘meh’.
Track 8 — Partners In Crime
it’s a bit all over the place on first listen, what with sci-fi guitars pinging left and right and no recognisable chorus to set your bearings by, but – as tends to be the case with ‘Comedown Machine’ – you eventually begin to make sense of it.
Track 9 — Chances
“I waited for you, I waited on you, but now I don’t” sings Casablancas in that new falsetto he’s so fond of, seeming to echo the sentiments of those who’ll have given up on the album by this point.
Track 10 — Happy Endings
Another noticably funky cut, with more guitars that sound like keyboards
Track 11 — Call It Fate, Call It Karma
It sounds like it’s been beamed in from the 1940s. Which is not something I thought I’d ever say about a Strokes song, but there you go.