The first official review of Comedown Machine is here courtesy of Q Magazine. For the record Q has rated the previous albums as follows (all out of 5) Is This It 5 stars, Room on Fire 5 Stars, FIOE 3 stars and Angles 4 Stars.
Of course different reviewers for each record means different opinions, in the review for Comedown Machine which they gave 4 stars they state that UCOD was the only decent song of Angles despite giving it 4 stars 2 years ago. So yeah reviews are a tricky thing.
I’ve typed up the interesting parts below (the first two paragraphs cover the same ground about the importance of the band in 2001 and how much they ‘hate’ each other in 2011 so I left them out)
Q Magazine Comedown Machine review by Niall Doherty
It was as if The Strokes had forgotten how to be The Strokes.
That identity crises is what makes their fifth album tick. They sound like themselves – those taut, rhythmical jabs, stabs of guitar underpinning Julian Casablancas’s dozily sighed vocals – but nothing like themselves at the same time. The shrill manga-pop of One Way Trigger, release as a free download at the end of January, is a perfect taster for the rest of the record. Just as that song had people wondering if The Strokes had discovered A-ha, there’s an ‘80s groove hip-swivelling its way right through the core of Comedown Machine. In their own dysfunctional way, The Strokes sound like they’ve having fun.
The glossy sheen of the production is a world away from the no-fi recordings of their debut and its follow-up Room On Fire, but Comedown Machine shares the concise nature of those early career watermarks. Tap Outis a dreamy, Gallic Influenced opener, with Casablancas airy vocal coda suggesting that the Human League might have had some airplay in between the A-ha records. Wonderfully odd influences pop up all over; the wordy hurdles of Welcome To Japan’schorus appear to have been lifted directed from Technotronic’s 1990 hit Get Up! (Before The Night Is Over)
Even when they up the pace, there’s a restraint that characterises Comedown Machine, even in its sturdier rock moments. In that sense, it feels like their lease New York record to date; it’s an album of space and light, nothing rushed on boxed-in. That approach is captured best in the mesmeric Slow Animals, all muted guitars slowly building around Casablancas’s whispered falsetto.
It’s impossible to know if The Strokes are on safe ground as a band – at the time of going to press they were insisting no interviews or new photos would accompany their latest record – but perhaps shutting themselves off from the world has done them good. Comedown Machine is their best album since they hit perfection with their debut. You’d like to think they’re entering a new lease of life as a band. This being The Strokes, it could just as well be their bittersweet send-off.