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Comedown Machine sees The Strokes breaking new ground

This is the quintet's most intriguing record to date, with Julian Casablancas fully back in the fold.

The Strokes
Comedown Machine
RCA/Rough Trade

Last time around, on their less-than-rapturously-received 2011 album Angles, The Strokes appeared in disarray. Tales of disconnected studio sessions, with their vocalist Julian Casablancas and his band mates communicating via email, sounded like a how-to guide on creating a joyless record. Was this it for the New Yorkers?

Not quite, it seems. Comedown Machine finds the quintet in an infinitely better place and, with Casablancas fully back in the fold, his influence is writ large once again.

At times weíre on territory nearer his 1980s solo set Phrazes for the Young. One Way Trigger, indeed, threatens to break out into A-Haís Take on Me at any moment, while 80ís Comedown Machine is wholly self-descriptive.

Certainly, fans who climbed onto the bandwagon during their debut Is This It might scratch their heads. Casablancasís trademark brash drawl has largely departed and the curve-ball closer Call It Fate, Call It Karma sonically ventures toward New York City in Boardwalk Empire era. Comedown Machine isnít a return to The Strokesí leather-jacket-clad pomp, but an overflowing new-found expansiveness. It is arguably their most intriguing transmission to date.

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