Comedown Machine tracklisting and NME’s first verdict

The Strokes Comedown MachineNME 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…”

• 50/50

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

‘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