Thought it would be useful to round-up all of the reviews there has been so far, the good, the bad and the average. Still waiting a few more from the larger sites/magazines like NME, Spin and Pitchfork.
Q Magazine : 4 out of 5 stars 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 least New York record to date; it’s an album of space and light, nothing rushed on boxed-in
Uncut : 7 out 10 It attempts to meld guitars with guitars with ’80s Europop….the experiment is often successful
Contact Music : Enjoy the rejuvenation of The Strokes, for this is the sound of a band that have tuned into the same wavelength and produced a collection of songs that you and, crucially, they can have fun with. It is this factor that sees them delivering on the promise of their debut and, though this may not have the same impact on the music climate, it is most definitely worth investing time in.
Time Out Chicago: As much as I adored it, Angles sounded pieced together in a computer by band members hardly communicating. Comedown Machine is the sound of a group invigorated, collaborating.
BBC Music : The songs here might take a little longer to unlock than their predecessors, but none of them strike a false note. Although plenty of the group’s signature sounds are present and correct, they form the backdrop to an unexpectedly wide range of styles and approaches.
Rolling Stone :3 out of 5 stars Comedown Machine is basically a solo trip for singer Julian Casablancas, showing yet again how much he respects Eighties New Wave. Why is Comedown Machine an official Strokes album instead of another Casablancas solo album? Only a Stroke could tell you.
Under The Radar 4 out of 10 : Overall, it might not be fair for The Strokes to have to live under the shadow of their own previous successes. But when you know a band can be that good, it’s frustrating to hear the same band put out an album this forgettable
Clash Magazine 8 out of 10 : Their most thought-provoking, strangest & sexiest record yet
Drowned In Sound 8 out of 10 : The Strokes will never get back the raw magic of Is This It? but, with Comedown Machine, they’ve cast a different spell entirely – one that’s almost joyful.
Loud and Quiet 7 out of 10 : but some spontaneity too, from band we now expect to be idle and spoilt
Brum Notes magazine 4.5 out of 5 stars : Each track has something to offer and it’s easy to imagine each one being a hit single. The whole album is brought together into one complete musical triumph by the funky rhythm that encompasses each track. This take on 80s synth-pop intertwined with The Strokes’ signature sound makes for a legendary piece of work
Counteract magazine 4 out of 5 stars : the fifth effort from NYC’s sons is a musical journey of past, present, and potentially the future
Digital Spy 4 out of 5 stars : Most of Comedown Machine, though, is The Strokes charged, adventurous and with their heads on straight. It’s not their finest ever work, but it’s their best in a while.
HotPress : I had written off The Strokes. Remarkably, however, the NYC quintet appear to have found a new lease of life on their fifth album
What Culture 3 out of 5 stars : The Strokes’ fifth studio album is in no way a bad one and it’s a welcomed addition to their musical works. ,. Unfortunately this record leaves you feeling slightly underwhelmed.
Crave Online 8 out of 10 : Comedown Machine is romantic, fun and above all honest. Lumps aside, The Strokes are still banging away to the beat of their own drummer (or drum machine).
Alt Press 3.5 out of 5 stars : That they manage to score far more hits than misses here is only further proof that the band’s inevitable fade away is still a long time off.
NME 8 out of 10 : Most of all, it’s fun – a great achievement considering it hasn’t looked fun in being in The Strokes for years. If this is what Comedown sounds like, we want some of what they’re coming down from.
NME has the first track by track listen of Comedown Machine, complete with tracklist and well it sounds pretty different for the guys which just makes me want it more. As information and previews trickle in I feel like there are going to be many unhappy fans and also some delighted with a different sound.
I’m quoting parts of NME’s guide to the album you can read the the full thing here
• Tap Out
Opening with an incongruous six-second paroxysm of guitar, the track soon settles into a mellower version of the tinkling, coke-bottle rhythm from ‘Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough’ while Julian (albeit in a higher, reedier voice than usual) still sounds reassuringly like Holden Caulfield putting on the moves, shrugging that “Even though I really like your place/ Somehow, we don’t have to know each other’s name”
• All the Time
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. The best bit, though, is the lyric that seems to poke fun at the band’s torturous creative process: “All the time that I need is never quite enough, all the time that I have is all that’s necessary”
• One Way Trigger
‘One Way Trigger’ isn’t any sort of litmus test for ‘Comedown Machine’.
• Welcome To Japan
It looks like someone’s done gone come down with a dose of da funk. Yeah, we know what you’re thinking: this might have been horrible, but it somehow ends up being great fun, with Nikolai Fraiture’s daft, elastic bassline underpinning a Franzian strut into outright disco… the song has enough moving parts to keep every member occupied, while Casablancas – demanding to know “What kind of asshole drives a Lotus?”- is on richly sardonic form.
• 80′s Comedown Machine
From the moment you hear Fab Moretti’s echoey, skipped-heartbeat drums, you know something’s afoot. Sure enough, the mellotron isn’t far behind, doing that phantasmal ‘Strawberry Fields’ thing which seems to be the instrument’s sole purpose..Still, there’s something oddly hypnotic about this song; like its protagonist ..who ‘fesses up that, “It’s not the first time I’m watching you passing by…”
The album’s shortest song, as well as being its loudest and nastiest, built around a coiled garage-rock riff that puts us in mind of the Von Bondies…It’s got the same sort of ferociousness and intensity that ‘Reptilia’ was blessed with.
• Slow Animals
There’s a frustrating lack of purpose or urgency here, characterised by Julian’s tentative, half-whispered vocals. “You don’t have to be so loud/ Everyone can hear you in this whole damn crowd”
• Partners In Crime
You know what I love about this song? The fact that when you listen to it through a decent set of headphones, you can zero in on Albert Hammond Jr’s guitar, which just does not stop….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.
‘Chances’ is one of those songs – like ‘Games’, their almost-but-not-quite venture into chillwave – that’s slow-paced, mostly electronic and doesn’t really feel like The Strokes. “I waited for you, I waited on you, but now I don’t” sings Casablancas in that new falsetto.
• Happy Endings
Another noticably funky cut, with more guitars that sound like keyboards…and Casablancas’ double-tracked vocals (one low, one high) imploring us to “Say no more, just get it all off your chest”…The song seems to cut out just as things are getting going. Still, there are worse gripes to have with songs than wanting a little bit more of them.
• Call It Fate, Call It Karma
Remember the demo for ‘You Only Live Once’, the one where it was just Julian crooning woozily over an electric piano? Well it starts off somewhere between that and ‘Call Me Back’, but it’s also got an eerie, last-foxtrot-at-the-Overlook-Hotel thing going on, with a plonking bass piano motif, gooey Alvino Rey guitar and a wax-cylinder crackle running throughout
The last few weeks have see critics and fans decide on their favourite albums and music moments of 2011, really like most awards it isn’t that important but it is a bit of fun that we seem to be intent on doing every year. I for one love end of year lists to the point of it becoming a bit of an unheathly obsession!
Here is a round-up of the polls and lists The Strokes featured on
Angles was #8 as the Most Underated Album and Under Cover of Darkness came in at 32 on the Top 50 Songs list. The Strokes were also 5th on the Best Comeback/Reunion poll
NME Readers Poll
Angles was listed in the BBC’s Top Album Art of 2011, interesting choice seeing as how many people seemed to outright hate the art when it was first revealed. I was always indifferent to it myself.
You’re So Right won the Best Musical Performance on the Jimmy Fallon Late show
NY Times Concert Moments of 2011 included the spectacular Madison Square Garden show
Other blogs and sites that listed Angles:
I will amend this post if any other turn up.
For the record Angles was definitely in my own Top 10 list of 2011.
A round up of news/updates you may have missed
Added quite a few candid photos from the past few weeks including Albert at the premieres for Anonymous and The Rum Diary and Nick DJing at the All Saints/Not For Sale Hollywood launch on October 24
Also some pictures from the Corona Capital Festival last month.
Vote for The Strokes in the Best Alternative Band category at the MTV European Music Awards, today is the last day!
Also NME have a best album of the last 15 years poll running so don’t forget to show Is This It some love by rating it 10/10
There are two live streams this coming weekend
The Strokes at Personal Festival (O4 November 2011)
When: 23:20 (Local Time – Buenos Aires) / 22:20 (East Coast) / 19:20 (West Coast) 02:20 (UK) / Other Time Zones
Live Stream : Watch it here
Recording : Update: The stream quality is appalling so its very unlikely I will be recording it, sorry!
The Strokes at Planeta Terra Festival (05/06 November 2011)
When: 01:30 (Local Time – Sao Paulo) / 23:30 (East Coast) / 20:30 (West Coast) / Other Time Zones
Live Stream: Watch it here
Note: It seems like the stream is only for Brazil /other Latin American countries and possibly the US so I will not be able to record it which really sucks so if anyone can do it please let me know either here or on Twitter.
After Stereogum did a cover/tribute album for Is This It earlier this summer it seems like Rock N Beats has done its own version with Brazilian bands! More information at their site
Toxic Radio the new domain of the Hard To Explain forum has been down the the last few weeks but fear not it is now back!