The Strokes’ 2020 comeback album! After a 7 year wait since their last studio album, Comedown Machine, Julian Casablancas and co. return with their strongest record post-aughts. Although The Strokes have largely drifted away from the signature garage-rock sound of their debut, utilizing heavier studio production and taking on more of a new wave approach on later releases, The New Abnormal sees the quintet strip things back significantly, working with notable minimalist producer Rick Rubin at his Shangri-Las studio. The songs are tighter, the use of synthesizers is more tasteful, and Casablancas's falsetto is the most confident it’s ever sounded. Off the bat, the energetic opener “The Adults Are Talking” sets the tone for the record, launching into an electrifying guitar duel between Albert Hammond Jr. and Nick Valensi overtop Fabrizio Moretti’s 808-esque drums (which have drawn some comparisons to Joe Jackson’s ‘80s hit “Steppin’ Out”). “Brooklyn Bridge To Chorus” may be the danciest song on the record, but lyrically it's juxtaposed by an aging Casablancas questioning “the 80s bands, oh where did they go?” “Bad Decisions” follows the ‘80s references with an interpolation of “Dancing With Myself” by Billy Idol (err, Generation X), as does “Eternal Summer,” which borrows a melody from the chorus of “The Ghost in You” by The Psychedelic Furs. Side B of the record features the two most atmospheric songs, “At The Doors” and “Ode To The Mets,” which are composed almost entirely of synthesizers and Mellotron (or at least, very convincing guitar pedal emulations). Bonus points go to the art department for the unique record sleeve, which opens by peeling the resealable tracklist on the back.
- 6th studio album from The Strokes produced by Rick Rubin
- 180g black vinyl pressing
- housed in plastic outer sleeve w/ die cut inner sleeve
- includes giant foldout poster
- digital download included
- music label: RCA 2020
reviewed by SHH! 08/2022