The Strokes, The New Abnormal (Cult/RCA)
How’s this for a plot? Your fave wholesome former alcoholic 40-something Dad rocker suddenly sculpts his hair into a severe mullet and dyes it more colors than 6ix9ine’s wildest Adderall dreams. As with any drastic change in hairstyle, soon follows the nasty divorce and the inevitable 22-year-old girlfriend. Even more inevitably, the next thing you know the ol’ band is back together again. Sensing that, somewhere in the hemisphere, a washed-up and aging once great band is stirring, Rick Ruben magically appears to produce whether they like it or not. What manifests is an unwieldy and ambitious slice of middle age crisis blues that sounds like Flock Of Seagulls jamming with Pink Floyd in a wind tunnel where they can’t hear one another. If you never thought you’d hear the words “Strokes” and “Jam Band” in the same sentence then think again; no song here is less than five minutes and they all feel whole lot longer than they actually are. Is it a bit of a slog to get through? Certainly. Does the latter half meander like a lost boy scout separated from his troop and down to his last tin of beans? You know it. But is it a fascinating and brave record from a band that hasn’t shown much life beyond cash grab festival appearances for over a decade? Oh yea. And if you’re gonna’ hate, then take a word of advice from Jules on standout track “Bad Decisions”:
“Do me a favor when you come through, when I look around don’t wanna’ see you”
Fun Fact: There’s no way in hell this record recouped the cost of obtaining rights for a Basquiat painting for the cover. Your move, Killers.