The Strokes: The New Abnormal review – Pleasantly disappointing
The New Abnormal
This self-isolating age is ripe for nostalgia, so the eventual arrival of the sixth album from The Strokes with a very timely title is bound to have many harking back to the good old days of 2001. Back then guitar music made a spectacular revival. John Peel was still alive to call The White Stripes the best thing since Hendrix. On Eternal Summer, one of the strongest tracks on this solid if unspectacular comeback, Julian Casablancas sings “life is such a funny journey”.
The Strokes have grown up and they are keen to show it. The opening track is even called The Adults Are Talking, featuring a Casablancas vocal that is a strange, half-whispered croon, and a little nod nod to the opening title track of Is This It, where Casablancas sounded like he was singing through an intercom.
Bad Decisions features plenty of classic Strokes riffs and buzzy guitar fizz with a hint of The Cars and Tom Petty, all bottled to perfection by Rick Rubin. If you think it bears an uncanny similarity to Dancing by Myself by Generation X, then The Strokes have beaten you to it by crediting Billy Idol and Tony James as composers.
While there is certainly some welcome comfort to the return of The Strokes, when the bar was set so spectacularly high on their first two albums, The New Abnormal is almost bound to be a slight disappointment, albeit a rather good one.