IT’S been TWO years since the strokes dropped arguably one of the best songs of the last ten years Under The Cover of Darkness. Stroke fans have been exercising their excitement for new album Comedown Machine online for months, speculating on the sound and direction of the new direction. The hype has been fuelled with a free track from the band One Way Trigger– the online verdict being that it’s reminiscent of A-ha. The rest of the tracks lay like angels on the earlobes and are thankfully a far from an 80’s electronic pop album.

First track Tap Out does have an 80’s feel to it similar to free download One Way Trigger; this is most certainly not what people would have expected. Julian Casablancas reverts to a more high pitch tone in this one, but as the song progresses on you do get the signature Strokes guitar tones creeping in- all in all, a feel good track with catchy lyrics.

All The Time is The Strokes at their best. Back to basics, everything in the song from riffs, to drums to epic chorus and husky vocals are perfectly vintage. This track could easily have been from previous releases Is This It or Room on Fire.  This is the track that old school Strokes fans can certainly relate to.

One Way Trigger is the free track that revealed the 80’s electronic pop direction for the new album. It sees Casablancas sing in a high pitched tone throughout the track which begins to feel pretty over powering as the song comes to a close. As the album unfolds, thankfully this sound isn’t signature to Comedown Machine, although it is nice to see something different for a band famous for a gritty guitar sound.

A simple bang of the snare introduces Welcome to Japan which starts with a dark sense of purpose as the chord progression on the guitars and the drums cleverly get you moving to the beat without you even noticing. The songs catchy lyrics “Didn’t want notice, didn’t know the gun was loaded” have the power to remain stuck in your head all day long. 

Title track 80’s Comedown Machine is a great attempt to create a sound that the party animal fans can really relate to. Comparisons can be drawn to that dreaded alcohol and narcotics comedown thanks to the spaced out sound. The track is trippy at parts and lyrical soft- but that aside this is a beautifully worked track totally different of The Strokes sound.

Next track 50 50 melts into your eardrums with full force- the very fast rock n roll song kicks in with distorted vocals that give it that added edge. Albert and Nic’s guitars work fantastically together here to create a wall of great noise.

Slow Animals slows everything back down again with its creation of sound that evokes a feeling of abyss. The beginning of the song soon meets a build up to the chorus and the famous Casablancas lyrical stutter comes into play.

Similar to track 50 50, a very urgent guitar starts Partners in Crime, it continues in the same frantic manner with Fabrizio’s drums breaking it up nicely. It then cuts out to kick into a very indie pop sounding chorus. The track later breaks down to the drum and bass playing off each other nicely to build into a very catchy track.

Chance again brings us down as a synth creates an atmospheric sound with an overlapping reverbed guitar helping along the way. A very powerful vocal from Casablancas on this track, maybe even his best of the album as you can hear the tenderness of his tone creeping in.

Final track Happy Ending is a mix of electro sound and classic Strokes guitar tones. With high and low vocals mixed over each other, this feels like it might have been a track that had been left over from the angle session, not a million miles away from Machu Picchu.

After twelve years of releasing some of the best music of the last two decades, we’re guessing an eclectic mix of listeners will be tuning in for this one. Fans, won’t be disappointed.