The Strokes – The New Abnormal Review
By: Griff Stevens
The Strokes are a five-piece NYC-based band. Formed in the late nineties, they released their debut album in 2001 called Is This It. The band’s post-punk sound grabbed the attention of fans in the UK, the album was certified platinum in the UK, where it won both BRIT and NME awards and garnered the band a rabid international fanbase. In 2009, NME gave the album the top slot on their Greatest Albums of the Decade. The Strokes went on to release the UK platinum-certified Room On Fire in 2003 and then First Impressions Of Earth in 2006, which entered the UK Albums chart at Number One. Their fourth studio album, Angles, was released in 2011, and Comedown Machine in early 2013. The Strokes are Julian Casablancas (vocals), Nick Valensi (lead guitar), Albert Hammond, Jr. (rhythm guitar), Nikolai Fraiture (bass), and Fabrizio Moretti (drums). The New Abnormal is the long-awaited sixth album from The Strokes and the band’s first album in seven years. The album was recorded at Shangri-La Studios in Malibu, California, with producer Rick Rubin. The album’s cover artwork is a painting called ‘Bird on Money’ by famed artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.
“Brooklyn Bridge To Chorus” opens with a synth pad that is part 80s and part EDM. Casablancas’ voice is still strong, and the band supports him with enthusiasm. Fraiture’s bass line is driving the verse, while Moretti drives the chorus. The Strokes have a banc sound that is influenced by New York and has elements of British pop-rock. Valensi’s guitar solo fits the song and almost has a synth sound more so than a guitar sound. This is a catchy track that will make everyone happy on both sides of the pond.
“Bad Decisions” has a British new wave sound. The rolling drum pattern is kept through most of the song as Casablancas’ vocals spin out the lyrics. This is a sound that fits The Strokes the best, a post-punk sound combined with a new wave sound is a good fit for the band. The melody is familiar, but unique enough to not draw too many comparisons.
The Strokes hit a lot of boxes with this one. From the crashing guitars of “Not The Same Anymore” to the retro video game styled “At The Door,” there are sounds based on the band’s original sounds and sounds of new territory too. Overall, the new direction is the most exciting part of The New Abnormal and one that can sustain the band for years to come.
Release Date: April 10, 2020
Label: Cult Records/RCA Records