The STROKES – ” The New Abnormal “

Posted: April 6, 2020 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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“The New Abnormal” is the long awaited new album from The Strokes, and the band’s first album in seven years. “The New Abnormal” is The Strokes’ sixth studio album and was recorded at Shangri-La Studios in Malibu, California, with legendary producer Rick Rubin . The New Abnormal is a long awaited new album release from The Strokes,. The album’s cover artwork is a painting called ‘Bird on Money,’ by famed artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. The album sees the Strokes roll back the years with an album of lo-fi intimate nuggets full of melodies that mark the Strokes at their best.

It’s been 19 years since their seminal debut ‘Is This It’, and with album number six, ‘The New Abnormal’, they’re still five of the slickest white men in guitar music – but now they’re older and wiser, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. “I am having a selfishly good time,” Casablancas admitted at that gig, before double-checking: “But are you also having a good time?”

The answer, applied to ‘The New Abnormal’, is an easy yes, as while the album explores a few new directions, it’s still often fairly recognisable. The best stuff sounds familiar – few people ever have, or ever will, write a better riff than that of ‘Last Nite’ – and the worst, only peppered in small amounts, feels beyond experimental, as if pointedly ignoring what everyone else in indie rock is doing to stay fresh nowadays. Instead Julian and co. often settle into an afterlife of cantankerous synths only belonging to The Strokes.

The Strokes have now officially announced their new album. It’s called The New Abnormal, it was produced by Rick Rubin, and following the 2016 release of their Future Present Past EP on Julian Casablancas’ own Cult Records — it comes out April 10th via their longtime major label RCA. The album artwork (above) is a Basquiat, and the first single is “At the Door,” which is on the atmospheric side but singing-and-songwriting-wise sounds like classic Julian Casablancas. Not a bad first taste.

The Strokes also played a Bernie Sanders rally in New Hampshire last night and they debuted new songs during their set and covered the Talking Heads’ “Burning Down the House.”

he Strokes have shared a second single off their upcoming first album in seven years, The New Abnormal (due 4/10 via RCA). It’s called “Bad Decisions,” and it kinda sounds like the middle ground between “I Melt With You,” “Dancing With Myself,” and Is This It-era Strokes. The metronomic, guitar-led ‘Bad Decisions’ and ‘Why Are Sundays So Depressing’ – are sandwiched between more jarring offerings.

Take ‘Brooklyn Bridge to Chorus’ and ‘At The Door’. The former is a disco-synth bop with lively vocals and decidedly self-determining lyrics (“I want another day/I want another break/I want another start”). It’s not about what fans crave any more; these words may move you, but were ultimately written for the person who first sang them. The latter, drum-less celestial number, was the record’s first single, announcing a stark change of pace for the band. It now stands as one of the strongest tracks due to its commitment to the new mood, and some of the most contemplative lyrics. “Use me like an oar / And get yourself to shore’, Casablancas sings to someone we will never know.

The Strokes have always kept their feelings at arm’s length, but there are traces of deeper introspection on The New Abnormal’. There’s striking cinematic beauty to ‘Selfless’ and ‘Not The Same Anymore’.

‘Selfless’ plays like a daydream, opening with a waltzing guitar, and there’s plain but piercing romance in Casablancas’ lyrics. “Please don’t be long/I want you now” he sings over a wailing refrain that confirms The Strokes remain some of the best riff-makers around. Casablancas’ vocals are diamond-sharp on ‘Not The Same Anymore’, as he captures the inevitably of ageing, proving he’s still underestimated as a lyricist. “Now the door slams shut/The child prisoner grows up” comes the haunting confessional.

But Casablancas can’t be kept away from his beloved ‘80s synths for too long. This is more convincing electronica than most of 2013’s ‘Comedown Machine’ offered, but still weaker than the three-for-three hit-making albums ‘Is This It’, ‘Room on Fire’ and ‘First Impressions of Earth’. ‘Eternal Summer’ is as close as this album comes to a misfire. It’s a poppy, seasonal ode with a brain-melting falsetto, a tinny chorus and workmanlike lyrics such as “summer is coming / it’s here to stay”, which would be fine they weren’t delivered quite so earnestly. It bears the messy energy of the guy nobody knows in the crowd at a festival, who caught sunstroke and let his one canned cider go to his head.

The Strokes‘ first album in seven years, the third single is here. It’s called “Brooklyn Bridge To Chorus,” and it’s a dose of glittery, disco-y new wave, but done in an unmistakably Strokes way.

The one Strokes album that feels decidedly absent is 2011’s ‘Angles’, which surprisingly triumphed with its psychedelic influences and existential lyrics – one of the few times the Strokes successfully committed to something entirely new. The tracks that bookend ‘The New Abnormal’ were first teased at live shows over the past year. The opening seconds of ‘The Adults Are Talking’ might scare people off with abrasive electronic drum samples, until Casablancas comes in with a mellow vocal. As it develops, it’s unmistakably top-tier stuff. The analogue beats of ‘Ode to the Mets’ promise to close the album in similar fashion, before the song blooms into a slow-burn ballad, the central riff sounding as if put through a wind machine.

There’s plenty to praise on the record, even though the listener has been certified as a second thought. Like its cover, the Jean-Michel Basquiat artwork ‘Bird On Money’, it’s spiky but quite stunning. This is a cool album. The Strokes ‘The New Abnormal’ Available 10th April 2020.

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