Strokes have a new video out (you can watch it here)
There has been a moderate bubble of hype developing over the new album, and while this sounds reasonably fun is anyone really expecting great things from them anymore? I don't think this track really has much going on (Casablancas sings "everyone's singing the same song for the last 10 years", surely that's rather been what he's doing really, the rest of the music scene has been fairly fast moving this last decade) yet is pleasant enough.
It is actually reasonably sad though, too many bands are condemned for never matching up to their debut, and some never actually do, The Strokes and Interpol being the main offenders. It always feels a cheap shot, the difficult second album is not a myth, and further is often a response to growing audience so flattening or simplifying the sound can make it work better in bigger venues. Conversely a band trying to rescue a diminishing fanbase can be led the other way, desperately changing their sound towards new and not necessarily successful. Think of how Snow Patrol managed to become fairly insipid stadium pop as soon as Run became a hit, when previously they actually have some pretty interesting if unoriginal albums in the back catalogue.
Neither is necessarily bad but this new Strokes isn't doing much for me. They were always somewhat soulless, it was almost their gimmick, but now somehow that's caught up with them, and the cool veneer has slipped away to leave a middling band. The lockstep guitar rhythms that are their bread and butter work fine, but the melody is not that special and it advances at a pretty slow pace. The lyrics aren't brilliant and aren't quite laconic enough or screamed enough which was always the two sides to their song writing.
Lets all just watch them absolutely kill Take it or Leave it on Letterman 10 years ago. No shame in playing this same song for the last 10 years, just fingers crossed this new album improves when I hear more of it, and they can reach this level of intensity again.