REVIEW: ‘The New Abnormal’ is a familiar yet mature sound for The Strokes


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“The New Abnormal” is the band’s sixth studio album.

The Strokes broke their seven-year hiatus from music with the release of their sixth studio album, “The New Abnormal,” on Friday, Apr. 10. Though the album is lacking in innovation, its similarities to successful earlier works like “Is This It” make “The New Abnormal” the recognizable rock band’s greatest work in over a decade.

Following the forgettable release of the band’s 2013 album “Comedown Machine,” its members split to work on various solo projects for the remainder of the 2010s. Yet filled by classic Strokes neon-R&B and synth-pop, “The New Abnormal” demonstrates how the band has refined their music since the beginning of last decade. In “The Adults Are Talking,” the album’s opening track, the band epitomizes this by characteristically lashing out against business world culture with familiar-sounding drums and bass.

“You were waitin’ for the elevator / You were sayin’ all the words I’m dreaming,” Julian Casablancas, the band’s lead singer, sings.

“Bad Decisions,” another highlight, is a catchy, fun romantic song in which Casablancas croons for a past love with a talented display of vocals. More importantly, the song’s release as an early single was a display of the band’s motivation to make music, which was missing in “Comedown Machine” and 2011’s “Angles.”

Despite its ability to instill nostalgia, the album still has its share of imperfections. On tracks like “Brooklyn Bridge to Chorus,” for example, the Strokes are disjointed and incoherent – choruses are left incomplete, and transitions are unpolished.

“And the ‘80s songs, yea, how did it go? / When they said, ‘ This is the beginning of the best years,’ / Even though, false, break,” Casablancas sings before the song cuts to silence near the one minute mark.

Still, even with some occasional blemishes, the album is a definite demonstration of improvement and maturation since the band’s debut in 2001. While “The New Abnormal” essentially follows the same stylistic blueprint that the band has used for two decades, fans should remember that’s certainly not a bad thing.