Growing up and growing old has always been rock star optional: even when the lines (Or consumption of) really starts to show, the almost immortals can always count on good bone structure and a shit ton of filters.
The Strokes were the coolest band in the world at the turn of the millennium, an imperial phase to top them all documented salaciously in the pages of Lizzy Goodman’s superb oral history Meet Me In The Bathroom. There will arguably never be a pattern of New York events to top that, or the quintet’s debut album This Is It; widely tabled as the best first album of all time, it’s effortless grafting of punk, new wave and needle sharp rock n’ roll revitalised all those 20th century genres on it’s own.
The record buying public sensibly accepted that making something better was beyond any mortal, but the returns have been totally ever decreasing since, the band spending most of the last decade on solo projects apart from 2013’s middling Comedown Machine.
If that was marred by inconsistency, The New Abnormal is the reverse, being stifled by a lack of peaks, troughs and talking points. The quintet couldn’t of course ever record something wholly meh, Bad Decisions and to an extent Brooklyn Bridge To Chorus reminders of that snarling backhanded energy, but too much here fits like comfy sweat pants with the cord let out, the tones of a dinner party record.
The New Abnormal is well, fine. What jars is that even approaching their third decade, there’s obviously more by way of genuine thrills to come from The Strokes, but even with this release there’s still no clear picture of when these epiphanies are going to arrive.
You can read the full review here.