PAUL J. WEBER
The Strokes, "Comedown Machine" (RCA)
The Strokes spent the past six years burning through all the leeway earned with once being declared saviors of rock 'n' roll. The synth-heavy "Comedown Machine" is hardly a letdown of last-straw proportions. It also wasn't made to woo anyone back.
But maybe what The Strokes want is a clean break. No tour supporting this fifth studio record is on the table. And lyrics like "Decide my past/Define my life" over the New Wave bleeps in "Tap Out" feel freighted with a band sick of being forever graded against their 2001 breakout "Is This It."
That might be a fair grievance. But also in bounds is the fact that "One Way Trigger" is a ringer for A-ha. By the time frontman Julian Casablancas is finally ripping through an angry and satisfying chorus in the rocker "50/50," interest in which way this decent but disjointed album lands has already faded.
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