The Strokes – Comedown Machine
The Strokes are the inventors of forock. Like the other similarly named fohawk, forock stands for rock that’s unable to stand by its own convictions. The Strokes specialize in this fake rock. Banished to a place where listeners are not cool kids in college dorms but aging bros in their first, second or third jobs, they represent the fast acceleration of nostalgia. When the Strokes came out initially they brought the hope. People believed in them. Perhaps their rock while derivative at least felt honest. The Strokes best hope now is to closely approximate something resembling rock. It hurts honestly to say such things. Everyone not so long ago had great hopes for the Strokes as a band that could bridge the gap between the bros and the indie kids. In their infinite wisdom the Strokes have moved ever closer to their ‘aging bro’ demographic.
Comedown Machine comes hot on the heels (compared to the length between their last two albums) after the mixed reception of ‘Angles’. They have released ‘One Way Trigger’ as a way to measure interest in continuing as a band. Even among the Strokes diehard faithful fans there is some division. Many state such one word praises like ‘awesome’, ‘sounds great’ and longer praises like ‘this will sound great live’. Yet for every one of those positive phrases there are the negative ‘used to be better’, ‘voice sounds horrible’ and ‘this is what the sound of rock’s decaying corpse getting skullfucked sounds like.’
Honestly the Strokes have been on a downward spiral for a while. ‘Is This It’ remains their undisputed masterpiece, their optimistic debut. From there they created the party-friendly ‘Room on Fire’ and entered their current slump with ‘Impressions of Earth’. Will Comedown Machine restore the Strokes popularity or at least show that inspirational bands from the early 2000s still have something left besides limping onward, wounded by withering criticism and appealing to rapidly aging fans? Only time will tell. Obviously the hope of a band pulling it together would be a fine one. A good album now just seems rather hard for the Strokes a band that specializes in faking the emotions of real rock. Even the album’s name doesn’t seem to bode well for a positive outcome.