The Strokes are arguably defined by their groundbreaking debut album ‘Is This It’. ‘Room On Fire’ was a worthy follow up, but by the time 2006’s ‘First Impressions of Earth’ came round, the band had begun to go off the boil somewhat. A hiatus soon followed, and rumours of infighting and discontent have marred the band ever since. Comeback album ‘Angles’ certainly had its moments, mainly the excellent ‘Undercover of Darkness’ but by the time fifth album ‘Comedown Machine’ was released in 2013, the band refused to tour or promote the album, almost disregarding their own work.
Three years later and The Strokes have reunited for a new EP, the aptly titled ‘Future Present Past’, which coincides with a handful of live dates the band have lined up across the summer. The new EP consists of three new tracks, ‘Drag Queen’, ‘Oblivius’ and ‘Threat of Joy’, along with a remix of ‘Oblivius’ by drummer Fabrizio Moretti. ‘Oblivius’ is very much The Strokes by numbers, and wouldn’t sound out of place on ‘Is This It’, what with its futuristic guitars and frontman Julian Casablancas’ iconic vocals. ‘Drag Queen’ is very much a Strokes song for the modern age. Its electronic guitars are reminiscent of New Order whilst you can also draw comparisons to Casablancas’ most recent solo LP, 2014’s ‘Tyranny’, thanks to its isolated and distorted vocals. Final song ‘Threat of Joy’ is also a throwback to the group’s early days, not sounding too dissimilar to the likes of ‘When It Started’ and ‘Someday’.
There is no doubt that the New York based quintet’s ability to write a great collection of songs remains and whilst musically ‘Future Present Past’ is very good, it would appear that The Strokes’ publicised dysfunctional relationships with one another are now spilling over into their music. Whilst there are no concrete plans to follow up this EP with a full length studio album, when asked the question about plans for a new LP in a recent interview, Casablancas replied “if the collective will can be summoned and caroused”. Not necessarily the definitive answer Strokes fans were hoping for, but a glimmer of hope, at least, that the band can one day put their differences aside and make an album that challenges the legendary ‘Is This It’. We can all dare to dream, can’t we?