TRACK REVIEW: The Strokes – Oblivius

New York’s finest return with a satisfying end to their three year absence

The Strokes have now returned with a new track which will appear on their forthcoming EP ‘Future Past Present’, which is due to be released on the 3 rd June on frontman Julian Casablancas’ own Cult Records label. For many fans, the release of new material has been a long wait since the band’s 2013 album ‘Comedown Machine’ which was seen to be a fairly divisive album with both critics and fans.

The album seemed to keep distance from The Stroke’s signature sound which fans fell in love with on albums like ‘Room on Fire’ and of course the seminal ‘Is This It’, and rather pottered into experimentation with other genres. This resulted in many fans praying for the band to return to their raw sound which we heard on their first two albums; despite the fact that the Strokes seemed to have no interest in doing this.

However, when listening to this new track, it seems The Strokes have in fact done this (which is quite a pleasant surprise). Right off the bat, ‘Oblivius’ feels reminiscent of the catchy guitar-pop and radio-friendly hooks we heard on the band’s earliest records. The harmonizing guitar leads accompanying Casablancas’ sleazy vocals would have in fact fitted quite snuggly somewhere on ‘Room on Fire’.

Although there is a certain familiarity with the track, the Strokes are in no way playing it safe with the direction they have taken; creativity and elements of their last record are sprinkled throughout. ‘Comedown Machine’ had a number of odd yet fun moments very similar to the screechy, squealing guitar solo and howling vocals from Casablancas’ towards the end of this new track.

The burst of fuzzy guitars at the beginning of the track’s chorus paired with Casablancas’ fiery voice crushes any doubt that this track would be a disappointment to fans. This moment somehow serves as a way of reminding us that The Strokes were at one point the most important and coolest rock groups on the planet, and although this status may have faded over the years, this track proves that they can certainly still pack a punch.

-Calum Thomson (@caluuumt)

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