26 September 2023

The New Abnormal

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Reviewed by Ian Phillips.

By The Strokes, Cult/RCA/Sony 2020.

If there was ever an album title that was apt for the particular period in which it was released then this is it.

The New Abnormal is the latest offering from one of the great bands of the noughties and it’s been some time since their last offering, seven years in fact.

The Strokes burst onto the scene back in 2001 with one of the defining debut albums of all time.

Is This It Captured the mood of the new millennium and hit the top of the charts world-wide.

Rolling Stone ranked it as the 8th best debut album of all time and NME named it the greatest record of the decade. It has consistently been ranked among the best 200 albums ever.

Their follow-up, Room On Fire (2003), was also good but couldn’t quite live up to the brilliance of their debut.

And now, 19 years and six albums later, they back with a new offering that will rival Is This It.

The music press has already been raving about The New Abnormal.

Associated Press stated: “A superb slice of indie rock, varied, exciting and complex, with elements of glam, straight down the line rock and dreamy pop.”

Under The Radar praises “The most vital and consistent the band has sounded in over a decade.”

And I agree with them.

This is definitely the best album they have released since their debut. It’s an amazingly complex offering from a band that has re-found its mojo.

A number of the tracks have already been released as singles; the interestingly titled Brooklyn Bridge To Chorus, Bad Decisions and At The Door have all charted well and whetted the appetite for what was to come.

Seven years has been a very long time between drinks and it’s great to have The Strokes back.

Julian Casablancas’ voice is as good as its ever been and the inventiveness of the dual guitars of Albert Hammond Jr and Nick Valensi chiming over the creativity of the rock solid rhythm section of bassist Nikolai Fraiture and drummer Fabrizio Moretti is really something to behold. When they’re on-song they are a class above the rest.

And they are definitely on-song.

I’ll finally be able to give my copy of Is This It a break.

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