In 2001 The Strokes; an American rock band released their debut album, Is This It, and have been looking over their shoulder since to try to replicate its success. They subsequently released other albums and an EP which unfortunately were instantly forgettable, before they headed off separately into different projects in 2013.

Having fallen in to the all too familiar rock and roll lifestyle of headline tours, substance abuse and in-house bickering, vocalist Julian Casablancas formed his art-punk outfit, the Voidz, guitarist Nick Valensi fronted CRX, drummer Fabrizio Moretti released an album with new band Machinegum, bassist Nikolai Fraiture joined Summer Moon and guitarist Albert Hammond Jr carved out a very successful solo career.

So it seemed to their fans that there was very little prospect of any future new material. But fast forward seven years and the release of their sixth studio album, The New Abnormal, has got people talking about them again.

Producing an album that is their shortest to date; it contains nine beautifully crafted songs and not a single one amounts to filling material. Produced by Rick Rubin the album opens with the dazzling The Adults Are Talking which can be scary with its abrasive electronic drums, but Casablancas voice which swerves between a swirling falsetto and raspy yelps, manages to calm it all down. This track in particular with its steady build and soaring climax is a great album opener.

Selfless opens with a waltzing guitar which grabs attention and Brooklyn Bridge To Chorus is reminiscent of a disco synth 80s bop with lovely lively vocals. At The Door is a drum less track with its haunting synth which was the album’s first single and is a stark change of pace for the band.

The lyrics of Eternal Summer are sleek and exciting but baffles with its ska punk nod, whereas second single the metronomic guitar led Bad Decisions pays homage to Generation X’s Dancing With Myself with its pogo bass. The glowing Tom Petty inflected Why Are Sundays So Depressing is a real treat and the guitar grinding Not The Same Anymore sees Casablancas seemingly in the midst of delivering passionate lyrics, forgetting what he is singing and just mumbles nonsense for a couple of seconds.

Ode To The Mets, a slow burning ballad, finishes an excellent album that explores a few new directions but is still undoubtedly The Strokes. With Casablancas’ vocals on another level and simply magnificent guitar riffs, this is certainly an album that has put Is This It firmly on the history shelf.

Number of tracks: 9

Running Time: 45:13

Released on: Cult Records/Columbia

Release Date: 10th April 2020

Our Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)