The Strokes – Future Present Past (Album Review)

The Strokes – Future Present Past (Album Review)

strokes 2016

Many journalists credit The Strokes as one of the bands that effectively represented Pop Rock in the early 2000s. The band was formed in 1998, in New York, United States, by Julian Casablancas (lead vocals), Nick Valensi (guitar, keyboard, backing vocals), Albert Hammond Jr. (rhythm guitar, keyboard, backing vocals), Nikolai Fraiture (bass), and Fabrizio Moretti (drums, percussion). Its emergence brought the swagger of Alternative Rock music back to the mainstream during that decade.

With that stated, The Strokes released their debut album, Is This It?, in 2001, followed by two more albums – 2003’s very angular Room on Fire and 2006’s Grunge/Shoegaze-influenced First Impressions of Earth – after which the band went on a hiatus. Returning in 2011, The Strokes released Angles, the sound of which recalls the quirkiness of early New Wave bands like Blondie (“Heart of Glass”), The Cars (“Shake It Up”), and Missing Persons (“Words”). The follow-up came in the form of 2013’s more New Wave-sounding Comedown Machine.

Then, on June 3, 2016, The Strokes released an EP entitled Future Present Past, which primarily consists of three songs. Released on Casablancas own label, Cult Records, the first track, “Drag Queen,” has a sense of urgency; its driving bassline, sparkling guitar harmonics, and dissonant ad-lib on top of a droning synthesizer and guitar rhythm complement the interplay of Casablancas’ falsettos and low-register vocal drawls, harking back to similar traits of the Post-Punk/Gothic pioneers Joy Division (“Transmission”) and Tones on Tail (“Christian Says”).

Next is the funky and Disco-flavored “Oblivius,” which has the traits that best characterize The Strokes’ music – Valensi’s cyclical guitar lines, Hammond’s angular guitar rhythms, Fraiture’s trebly and groovy basslines, Moretti’s frenetic drumming, and Casablancas’ multi-style vocal approach. Finally, the EP closes with the upbeat and guitar-dominated “Threat of Joy,” further treating the listeners to a taste of whatever big dish The Strokes is currently concocting.

Ultimately, what is impressive about The Strokes is their stylistic consistency and confidence in infusing into their music significant aspects of their influences, allowing them to continue establishing their distinct sound without the need to deny their musical roots. One may regard Future Present Past as a satisfying appetizer to another much-awaited main course that The Strokes are masterfully finishing right now. CrypticRock gives Future Present Post 4 out of 5 stars.


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aLfie vera mella
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Born in 1971, in Metro Manila, Philippines, aLfie vera mella is a healthcare worker, singer/songwriter, and editor/writer. He was the frontman of the ’90s-peaking Philippine Alternative Rock / New Wave band Half Life Half Death, which released a full-length album and several singles on Viva Records. aLfie worked at Diwa Scholastic Press as an editor/writer of academic textbooks and supplementary magazines, focusing on Science & Technology and English Grammar & Literature. In 2003, aLfie migrated to Canada; he has since been living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He works full-time at a healthcare institution, while serving as the associate contributing editor of Filipino Journal—a local community newspaper in Winnipeg—tackling Literature, Languages, Cultures, Lifestyles, and Music. aLfie has been a music journalist since the mid-’90s for various print magazines as well as websites. He started writing album reviews for Cryptic Rock in 2015. In 2016, aLfie published Part One (Literature & Languages and Their Cultural Significance) of his Essay Series, Can You Hear the Sound of a Falling Leaf?; in 2021, his first book of poetry, Pag-íhip sa Dáhon ng Kahápon [Blowing Leaves of Yesterday]. In his spare time, he enjoys reading books and listening to music. aLfie is a dedicated father to his now 13-year-old son, Evawwen; and a loving husband to Kathryn Mella, who herself moonlights also as a writer aside from holding a degree in Bachelor of Arts, Major in Sociology.

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