The strokes surprise with “the new abnormal

The strokes surprise with 'the new abnormal

Do you know the strokes? Hopefully not. This unnecessary ballast of juvenile happiness has already spoiled many a spab.

And so the sixth studio album of the new york band sounds carefree through the podcast tortured bluetooth-box. Can mature slowly with repeated play, releasing subtle nuances and clever details. The strokes have nothing left to lose with “the new abnormal.

Almost needless to mention that the group around sanger julian casablancas were once the sexy posterboys of garage rock. That the strokes with their debut "is this it" in 2001 had shown the guitar music of the late 90s the raised middle finger, to free it from abominations like djs and brute screams.

But the strokes didn’t want to celebrate any great successes or create any milestones after their fabulous debut and the follow-up "room on fire" (2003). Given the high expectations and the usual requirement to reproduce smash hits, the band was hardly allowed to venture into new terrains between futuristic pop and prog-rock. Even within the band there are said to have been quarrels about the band’s own sound. Nonetheless, all of the platitudes had their grotesque moments.

With the album "comedown machine" (2013) the band did not even go on tour. If the strokes had broken up, hardly a tear would have been spilled. Memories of beer-filled evenings in the indie disco of yesteryear were too sublime. And so it took seven funny years without privations, until we now get a new longplayer with "the new abnormal" (or also "TNA") handed over the virtual counter.

It is hardly surprising that this time the band had none other than rick rubin operate the knobs and controls. The producer is often booked when the cart is already in the mud, the muden joints crack without ideas and one would like to recall forgotten strong jerks.

Whether it’s chuckled calculus or indifference to any expectations gained with sufficient distance: the strokes play through "the new abnormal" immensely liberated and with joy, even a certain wink of the eye.

The opener "the adults are talking" flirts with the sound of the old days. "We are trying hard to get your attention," sings casablancas, swinging his falsetto to unimaginable heights over a machine beat and dueling guitars. Between the tracks the band can be heard in the studio. A novelty compared to the matches that often ended abruptly in the past.

"Selfless" is a tentatively unfolding lullaby of simple sparseness at medium tempo. In general, this difficult gait on "the new abnormal" is the defining mode. For "brooklyn bridge to chorus", the band then digs deep into the 80s disco crate, complete with laser guitars and plastic synthesizers. "Bad decision" disguises itself as the most classic strokes track on "TNA" and, as it were, beats the enthusiastic nostalgics to the punch. Billy idol’s "dancing with myself" is so clearly quoted here that he and tony james also appear in the song’s credits.

One of the many highlights and probably the most unusual album track is "at the door". Casablancas pleads over creaking synths until a pulsating beat builds him a ramp to lofty heights.

In "eternal summer," which grooves wonderfully between the clash and david bowie, and the serene "why are sundays so depressing," the singer discovers his inner prince. At this point it becomes clear: the strokes are neither trying to write strokes songs nor to disappoint expectations with bulky experiments. They succeed with new ease.

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