The Strokes, "Comedown Machine" (RCA)
The Strokes spent the past six years burning through all the leeway earned with once being declared saviors of rock 'n' roll. The synth-heavy "Comedown Machine" is hardly a letdown of last-straw proportions. It also wasn't made to woo anyone back.
But maybe what The Strokes want is a clean break. No tour supporting this fifth studio record is on the table. And lyrics like "Decide my past/Define my life" over the New Wave bleeps in "Tap Out" feel freighted with a band sick of being forever graded against their 2001 breakout "Is This It."
That might be a fair grievance. But also in bounds is the fact that "One Way Trigger" is a ringer for A-ha. By the time frontman Julian Casablancas is finally ripping through an angry and satisfying chorus in the rocker "50/50," interest in which way this decent but disjointed album lands has already faded.