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The Strokes - Tap Out
Mar 19, 2013
Total plays:
397 times
Why do we like this?
Alongside Julian Casablancas' tin can growl and crooning falsetto, The Strokes new wave ride rolls on with Comedown Machine. The follow-up to 2011's Angles is speedy, even by Strokes standards. On LP #5, the missive is clearly stated on the cover: "37 minutes, 49 seconds." Get in, get out.

Though continuing on a similar path as its predecessor, the creative process between the two albums differs starkly. While Angles was recorded with Casablancas laying down his vocals separately from guitarists Albert Hammond, Jr. and Nick Valensi, bassist Nikolai Fraiture, and drummer Fabrizio Moretti, Comedown Machine sees them reunited in the studio, recording as a group. The result is decidedly more cohesive.

"Tap Out" sets the tone from the onset, with a groove that takes a clear cue from the Drive soundtrack. The first single, "All The Time," is a fan pleasing, classic Strokes track featuring with the band's trademark New York sound, as timeless as the city itself. "One Way Trigger" was the other of two previously released tracks, commonly compared to A-ha's "Take On Me." Though undeniably reminiscent, upon closer inspection it's clear this song has its own unique character. On "Welcome To Japan," you can almost feel Tokyo's neon skyline buzzing along to the tune of this likely sake-fueled refrain.

Setting into a different gear on "80's Comedown Machine," the album's near-namesake gently stretches out the middle. At 5:59, it's their longest song, and first over 5 minutes. By "50/50," it's time to start streaking towards the finish, so The Strokes squeeze in a screamer before "Slow Animals" takes a lighter turn. The playful chaos of "Partners in Crime" leads to the final arc, "Chances," another song that sees them successfully stretching out, and "Happy Ending," an anthemic finale fake out that ties together many of album's different elements.

The final track, "Call It Fate, Call It Karma," is easily the most interesting song on the album, and perhaps in Strokes canon. Seemingly a post-script, the distant dulcet tones craft the shadowy sounds of a haunting lounge act as it fades into the abyss, and just like that, the Comedown Machine is complete.

It's another successful outing for The Strokes as they seem to find their stride in exploring new sounds, only indulging in their past long enough to retain their form.
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