Now a household name, The Strokes return to form with their first EP in 15 years.
For many artists an EP comes as an introduction to what is hopefully a long and successful career, for The Strokes however it’s more of a statement encapsulating the familiarity of the past, the expectations of the present and a movement toward the future. It may be of some significance then that the future proceeds the present in the EP’s title.
Three years on from their last album ‘Comedown Machine’ and two years since Julian Casablancas’ turn with Julian Casablancas + The Voidz in 2014, the front man’s infatuation with the past is clear on the 80’s synth inspired ‘Drag Queen’, the EP’s first track feels distinctly similar to Casablancas’ 2014 side project whilst retaining The Strokes pop sensibilities and is one to watch for adventurous fans. Vocal effects here see Casablancas’ lead vocals being twisted into a Gary Numan meets Alvin and the Chipmunks falsetto, in a good way, honestly.
Second track ‘OBLIVIUS’ is undoubtedly catchy and will have you wailing the disarmingly sincere “What side are you standing on?” around the house. Perhaps the meatiest song to appear on the EP with more for long time fans to digest this track will undoubtedly be popular with fans of 2011’s ‘Angels.’
Instant classic ‘Threat of Joy’ appears to be the most conventional of the album boasting a more recognisable riff and cleaner vocals. It would be fair to speculate this tracks family ties to The Strokes’ early 2000’s works, 2001’s ‘Is This It’ and 2003’s ‘Room on Fire.’ The most radio friendly of the bunch Casablancas channels the ghost of Lou Reed to positive effect.
The addition of the ‘OBLIVIUS – Morietti remix’ sadly feels a little unnecessary here and looks suspiciously like filler with such a short track listing.
The EP itself is intensely catchy, after one listen you’ll find yourself itching to hear the hooks that will no doubt have been bouncing around inside your head all day. Considering the present and future of music it’d be near impossible to picture one without The Strokes, undoubtedly they are partly responsible for planting the seeds of today’s resurgence of guitar bands and it’s a pleasure to see them lead by example.
‘Past Future Present’ is out now via Cult Records.
This Stokes review was written by Jacob Atkins, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Natalie Whitehouse.