The Strokes - The New Abnormal
Apr 10, 2020
85
In my opinion, this is the most Strokes sounding a Strokes album has sounded in nearly two decades. I absolutely loved First Impressions of Earth - my first introduction into the sound of the group as a kid. But even I can recognize that it sounds much more different from Room on Fire or Is This It. Both of their early 2010s albums, Angles and Comedown Machine, were unfortunately mediocre compared to the stellar early work the garage rock revivalists were putting out in their early years.

What's funny is that it seems like many didn't respect or love Room on Fire back upon its initial release because it sounded too much like Is This It, almost like there was a perfect Strokes formula they were following. Then, when they started to deviate from that sound people started to turn on their work and demand that they return to their old sound. Lo and behold, The Strokes return almost a decade later with a fresh sound resembling their early work and the world is going to swallow it up like they never turned on the group.

There is something stunningly bright about The New Abnormal. It's certainly a summer vibe kind of album; just look at the center of the album for a groovy, slick and clean Eternal Summer that sounds like The Strokes in celebration mode. The whole early half of the album follows this pattern, churning out vibrant and groove-heavy tracks that radiate sunshine and joy. Lucky for the listener, the good vibes mentality that The Strokes seem to be employing across these songs actually translates, unlike the lost in transmission songs off of Angles or Comedown Machine.

The mood shifts quite a bit on At the Door, which feels like a perfect throwback to the First Impressions of Earth sounds of the mid 2000s, especially the later parts of that album. It's focused heavily on Julian Casablancas' vocals along with some mundane yet effective synth effects. It's the kind of sound that I grew up on, and a sound that sold me on the groups sound, so At the Door is the exact kind of track I'm looking for from the group.

This track is essentially a standalone, as Why Are Sundays So Depressing is really anything but, continuing the sunny instrumentation and familiar vocals from Casablancas. It's the perfect kind of sound that just feels like The Strokes are back on their game, and once again, all they had to do was revert back to their old sound to finally get people to remember just how solid of an act they could be.

Funny thing though, had they been making music in this style all these years people would have gotten tired of the shtick. By changing things up, they effectively made a demand for their own unique sound until they actually delivered it. It's brilliant, brilliant in a way that few would have considered from a musical act.

Genuinely, the best way to describe The New Abnormal is magic. It's magic that The Strokes were able to shift back and do so effectively, and magic that their sound was made to be in such high demand. I expect that I, along with many many others, will be keeping this Strokes record on repeat for the duration of the year, and beyond. For the previous fans of The Strokes who left, welcome back into the fold my friends.

Favorite track: Eternal Summer
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More Reviews by MasterCrackfox
The Strokes - Comedown Machine
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Jun 8, 2019
The Strokes - Angles
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Jun 8, 2019
The Strokes - Room on Fire
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Jun 7, 2019
The Strokes - Is This It
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Oct 12, 2018
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