EP Review – The Strokes – Future Present Past

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One of the few defining groups of the 21st Century in The Strokes have released their first material in over three years with their new EP Future Present Past which has been streamed all day and is expected for proper release on June 3rd. When discussing it, Julian Casablancas said the songs could be part of a full album if ‘the collective will can be found’. But for the moment, we have three new tracks and the primary single is  ‘Oblivious’. It has shades of their first two albums to it, particularly in Nick Valensi’s slightly distorted lead guitar licks and the rough edged recording of Julian’s vocals. As well as this, it has that crashing chorus and heavy melody to it. It is different in its greater sense of depth between verse and chorus and a general production direction that has the song pulling in one, bigger wave of sound. There’s also flashes of Julian’s work with the Voidz in the instrumental section with heavily modulated vocals and guitars.

‘Drag Queen’ is certainly more evocative of this more gritty, yet encompassing sound with the extended bass lines and rhythm sections. These break out into greater areas  of light with the open, thrashing guitars and ringing lead elements. The track has several sections as well as a melodic, anthemic interlude towards the songs conclusion and is demonstrative of the new avenues they may take. ‘Threat of Joy’ is a light, airy track with simple, jangling rhythms which, with added gradual reverb merge with Julian’s washed out vocal before swinging back to its more pepped up sound. Nothing new to learn here though. It’s an EP of different approaches and for the most part these work effectively with signs of familiarity mixed with recent and new approaches. It remains to be seen whether this balance will be altered but it should be an intriguing listen nonetheless.

 

Owen Riddle

 

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