This EP is the band’s first musical release in three long years. And the title of it is no mistake, so first let’s assess the Stroke’s interesting history before envouring the contents.
The Strokes made such an iconic name for themselves in the indie underworld of New York, with ‘Is This It‘ (2001) commanding people to stop what the they were doing and reassess their current tastes and groupings. They have been running from it eversince (devistatingly for long-time fans).
Littered with mediocre solo albums, (Julian Casablancas, Phrazes for the Young and Albert Hammond, Jr, ¿Cómo Te Llama?) and arguably half-hearted reunion appearences after the glow of ‘Comedown Machine’ calmed. guitarist Hammond, Jr hinted at new Strokes material while simultaniously sounding tentative and almost apathetic when discussing the various solo projects being endevoured by other leading members.
After the release of this daring collection of expressive hits in the form of this EP, are they…could they…should they go onto do a new album? Are this band going to settle into their corner of nostalgia over their hey-day after this small peak of excitement? Are they going to go too far and ruin our adoration for their ability to impact everything from underneath? Or are they going to go on to get it just right?
The title of this release may be a reference to the struggles this band face in regards to time and their evergrowing repitour of indie-rock seronaders, but each track here takes the time to answer some of our questions.
‘Drag Queen‘ opens up the EP with electronic Joy Division vibes that The Strokes dabble in sometimes when feeling adventerous and Casablancas explored in more depth in his solo work. With dense layering of sounds, falcetto vocals and the muffled guitar lines we are so lustful over with The Strokes, this track represents what their plan of attatck is, and it is looking to be a good one. ‘OBLIVIUS‘ is a more light-hearted tune, if only in guitar riffs. However it is brought right back down to Casablancas‘s level with his iconic drowningly pessimistic vocals. The chorus of this song it huge, with all members coming together to step up the energy levels. Casablancas said to Annie Mac (BBC Radio 1) on her show that a full album could be happening “if the collective will could be summoned and caroused” but I predict that this is already on its way to happening by the sounds of the lyrical hook “Watch out” in this retro-progressive hit. ‘Threat of Joy‘ sees Casablancas saying “Okay, I see how it is now, you don’t have time to play with me anymore…fuck the rest” before going onto sing about the romantisised dangers of enjoyment. Is this a sign of acknowledgement of the past? Or a warning of the adventerous to come in the future? Either way, the EP commands us to remember, and listen up.
Strokes’fans reaction to new release after hearing three tracks were summed up perfectly on twitter as one fan wrote “The Strokes are back, everything is right.“, other reactions included relieved praises such as “I remember why I love the Strokes so much“. Hopefully this is a teaser for what is to come, rather than a brief moment of giving into our relentless demands for a nostalgic Strokes throwback.
‘Past Present Future‘ is availible to stream now on spotify and will be physically released 3 June 2016 via Cult Records.
Pre-order the EP here