(Photo Credit - Jason McDonald)
Advance Review - The Strokes: The New Abnormal, (April 10, 2020)
Indie rock royalty The Strokes are back. Their last release, Future Present Past dropped in 2016. Honestly, it feels like an eternity since 2016, particularly with everything that's happening these days. I'll say this right off the bat, it's good to have The Strokes back.
The album starts off strong with a blistering display of indie rock in "The Adults are Talking". The band had originally debuted this track live, but hearing the recorded version is great. Particularly impressive are Julian Casablancas' vocals in the track, as he takes it out with some dynamic falsettos.
The falsetto work continues in "Selfless" as Casablancas and the leads play off one another quite nicely throughout. It's poetic in the melodies and captivated me throughout. "Brooklyn Bridge to Chorus" continues the party with a ridiculously upbeat melody that just makes you want to move. And it begins right off the bat with synth work for days. The second single "Bad Decisions" comes after, you know this song, you love this song and it's basically been everywhere. What you may not know about the track is that it incorporates elements of Billy Idol's "Dancing with Myself". Consequently, both Billy Idol and former band mate Tony James are credited as co-writers on this one.
"Eternal Summer" is an interesting track where Casablancas breaks out his falsetto again. He also growls a bit in this one and the contrast is great. The Strokes received an assist on the composition for this one from Richard and Tim Butler of The Psychedelic Furs. Next up is "At the Door" the band's first single from The New Abnormal. It's another powerhouse display of vocal ability by Casablancas, as I'm sure you well know by now.
The album rounds out with "Why are Sundays so Depressing?", "Not the Same Anymore", and "Ode to the Mets" (#LGM, sorry I had to). The melody in "Why are Sundays so Depressing" is the star of this one. There's a little bit of something for everyone including indie infused guitar riffs, electronic influence, and a steady drum beat that serves as the backbone of the whole damn thing. I loved the guitar work and the methodical pacing of "Not the Same Anymore". Finally, there's "Ode to the Mets". It may just be my favorite on the entire album, and no it's not because it features my favorite baseball team's name in the title. There's something about the careful utilization of keys, guitar, and Casablancas' vocals that close this album out so well.
Summing it up, The Strokes once again prove why they are among the titans of indie rock. While they may not have released a studio album in seven long years, The Strokes show they're still on their game. I was caught hook, line, and sinker from the very beginning. The New Abnormal doesn't have any holes. If I had to choose the weakest track on the album, it would actually be "At the Door" as I feel the others are musically stronger. Regardless, it's still a solid track. I'm going to come out and say it now, The New Abnormal is an early front runner for me for album of the year for 2020. We'll see what happens with the rest of the releases throughout the year, but this record will surely be in the debate. This is one that I would highly recommend for vinyl fans as you can listen to it cover to cover and it's high listenability makes it one you'll reach for often in your collections. I know I'll be getting it.
Rating - 5/5