The Strokes knock it out of the park with “The New Abnormal”

The Strokes knock it out of the park with “The New Abnormal”

“The New Abnormal” is a beautiful concoction of classic Strokes and something… different. Dabbling in everything from britpop to even auto-tuned vocals, their newest album is a celebration of experimentation. 

The lead singer of the group, Julian Casablancas, is larger than life on this record, crooning modest yet heartfelt. The signature distortion present in his voice in their other projects is often missing, highlighting his pure talent. The range of styles Casablancas covers is mind-boggling. “Eternal Summer” melts from straight Strokes pop with a splash of soul into something between Bowie and The Clash as if it were the most natural thing in the world. 

Immediately following is “At the Door,” a minimal track composed almost exclusively of synths. An early Strokes fan may wait the whole song for it to “start,” as there is no drop or increase in energy, but this is because, truthfully, it doesn’t need one. Once again, Casablancas dominates the track.

Casablancas isn’t the only powerhouse on the album however. The instrumentation, intricate and expressive, is solid while still sounding natural and spontaneous. 

Although over half of the nine songs on the record are longer than The Strokes’ norm, the pacing is sublime on the record, and never is there a mundane moment. 

The final track is a kind of reprisal of  “Brooklyn Bridge to Chorus,” borrowing the verse melody on an organ, backing a new vocal. Although the instrumentals are haunting and mourning, Casablancas’ performance becomes more agitated as the song progresses, the sweeping synths replaced by cascading guitars. The song ends with a clean final chord- at first. Left in at the end are random notes and noises, as the band begins to pack up and leave the bar. 

This messiness is just one example of what makes this record so unique. The uninterrupted flow of creativity, the stream of consciousness that the group so bravely traverses is what will keep me coming back to this record again and again. I give “The New Abnormal” a four and a half out of five.

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