Time Out’s Track by Track review of Comedown Machine and more

Comedown Machine CoverAs the release date draws closer the reviews are coming in, we have had both Q and Uncut and now Brent DiCrescenzo over at Time Out Chicago has not only reviewed it by done a very interesting track by track. I feel like unlike the NME one from last month there is much more depth to DiCrescenzo’s.

I’ve quoted some of the points I found interesting (leaving out the two songs we already know), you can read the entire review here, it’s worth it.

Time Out Chicago ‘Comedown Machine’ track-by-track

“They found our city under the water / Had to get our hands on something new” —opening line from Comedown Machine

“Tap Out”

Quickly it slips into a Michael Jackson groove, breezy funk built from palm mutes, chorus pedals and cocaine solos. A relaxed Casablancas sings in airy high notes: “Drifting / You don’t want to know what’s going down.” The band has never sounded so mellow, and that mood carries through half the tracks….

“Welcome to Japan”

It’s just a blast. The most overlooked trait of Casablancas is his sense of humor… Especially when he proclaims, “Oh, welcome to Japan!” before comically crooning, “Super dance-y funk down.” Or something. As destined as “I didn’t really know this / What kind of asshole drives a Lotus” is to become the most quoted line, the subsequent quasi-rapped chorus tops it: “Come on, come on, get with me / I want to see you Wednesday / Come on, come on, come over / Take it off your shoulder / Come on and call me over / We’ve got to get to work now / Sliding it off your shoulder / As we’re falling over.”

“’80s Comedown Machine” 

Sounding somewhat akin to a Nintendo cartridge playing “Chariots of Fire” and “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” Casablancas faintly floats over the lulling mellotron loops. “Why don’t you close the blinds / for the night?” he gently pleads.


With a “Rusty Cage” (Soundgarden song) riff, this tense and sneering punker sees Julian pulling out his beat-to-shit Is This It microphone from a dusty box in his closet and snarling with a ferocity not heard since “Reptilia.” Also, if you listen closely, you can hear the singer say in the background, “…the record for the worst foul shot, in the history of the playoffs.” Because why not.

“Slow Animals”

The calmly cruising “Animals” in particular picks up from “Life Is Simple in the Moonlight” and “Two Kinds of Happiness,” fleshing out the concepts and polishing off the rough edges… Staccato, muted guitar, oscillating synthesizer and the most curiously hushed guitar solo in their history slowly crescendo. But don’t worry, a screeching solo follows a verse later. The guys collapse into laughter at the close, underlining their apparent rediscovered camaraderie.

“Partners in Crime” 

Silly, bumblebee-buzzing hammer-ons from Nick Valensi, much like the album’s opening salvo, both mock classic rock and embrace its pleasurable ridiculousness…. “Leave all your tears alone / Run down your face,” Casablancas croons before coolly stating “I’m on the guest list” with winking sarcasm. Like “50/50,” part of the half of the album (ah, that title begins to make more sense) that could arguably fit on Room on Fire…


…unlike this here slow dance. .. This bound-to-be-polarizing one’s dedicated to all those crushin’ hard out there. A synth-heavy couple-skate oozing John Hughesian longing. “I waited for ya / I waited on ya / but now I don’t,” Casablancas sings in castrato-high falsetto in the shimmering disco lights. The most romantic ballad in their catalogue.

“Happy Endings” 

Next to “Welcome to Japan,” the track most likely to dazzle the fans hungry for the Strokes to reclaim the impassioned energy of the early era. …”Happy Endings” recycles the tick-tock guitars and sci-fi elements of “Macho Picchu,” adds a pinch of Room on Fire’s soul and ends with something wonderfully electrifying. …Comedown Machine is the sound of a group invigorated, collaborating. With a loaded title, “Endings” would dazzle live. If they toured.

“Call It Fate, Call It Karma” 

Dropping the curtain with the ultimate curve ball, “Fate” crackles like phonogram recording of a calliope playing Cuban rumba…. “Close the door, not all the way,” Casablanca quietly sings. “Please understand / We don’t understand.” In the chorus, “I waited around…” .. he hits his highest notes yet, up the range of Frankie Valli or a Beach Boy


Another positive review was posted yesterday by Contact Music with a choice line about 50/50a bloodthirsty audio assault that will undoubtedly have its lead riff imitated endlessly and is the perfect backing to Casablancas’ rip-roaring delivery

Stay tuned for more reviews in the next fortnight.