The Strokes have released their long-anticipated sixth album The New Abnormal through Cult and RCA records. Featuring the same lineup as their acclaimed debut and production by Rick Rubin, the album is a continuation of the recent direction they have taken; a more combined sound versus each band member contributing parts that add to the song individually. The staples are still there: Julian Casablancas delivering his verses with ease and comfortability and Albert Hammond Jr. breaking through with a catchy lead. The main difference is a much more laid back approach as far as rough takes and demos being added onto the finished product. It lends to the idea the band has gotten comfortable in their status and songwriting ability, forgoing a band’s initial mindset to try to please everyone and polish their album to no end. Taking into effect the album cover is a Jean-Michel Basquiat painting, Bird on Money, maybe the band took inspiration from the artist and just let their creation be its own self.
Starting off with “The Adults Are Talking”, The Strokes create a live atmosphere, one where any fan would be happy to groove along with the band. “At The Door” has a standout vocal contribution by Casablancas as well as “Selfless” which also has a very memorable chord progression. It’s a great example of The Strokes’ cohesion and common vision. “Brooklyn Bridge to Chorus” returns to a club vibe, capturing the highlights of late 70’s New York disco and new age rock with a distinctly modern take. “Bad Decisions”, which was featured at a Bernie Sanders Rally as well as an animation for “At The Door, has a guitar part straight out of a classic New Order song.
“Why Are Sundays So Depressing” has the distinct production touch of Rubin, who began his esteemed career very early on in the hip-hop scene. “Eternal Summer” may be the most produced and distinguishable from their previous catalog and contains an obvious nod to The Psychedelic Furs’ “Ghost In You.” Although some fans may be disappointed not to hear the same early aughts NYC sound, discerning listeners will find that consistency as well as hopefully appreciate a new direction for a band with much acclaim.