Ever since the Strokes‘ first major hiatus after the divisive First Impressions of Earth, they’ve gradually shifted their focus from jangly ’70s-leaning rock toward the next decade, offering strange, city-polluted takes on New Wave. The seeds of this were sown most audibly on Julian Casablancas’ debut solo record Phrazes For The Young, and since then with records like Angles and Comedown Machine, they have experimented even further with that sounds (for reference, be sure to listen to “One Way Trigger,” keeping Aha’s “Take On Me” in mind).
Now, on the band’s brand-new Future Present Past EP, they’ve fleshed out this ’80s aesthetic with a VHS-style lyric video for their New Order-esque track, “Drag Queen.” As Casablancas sings “’80 people dancing” over the driving guitar riff, internet 1.0 images flash by that are reminiscent of vintage PBS specials about space, Tron, and the cyberpunked out skyline of Manhattan from Escape From New York. It’s very successfully unsettling and dystopian, matching lyrics about the pitfalls of capitalism. This is the most manipulated and removed Casablancas voice has ever sounded on a Strokes record, and though it works on the song, I still haven’t decided if it suits the band at this juncture or if I miss his tobacco-scratched croak.
What do you guys think of the extremely ’80s track and lyric video from the Strokes? Have you listened to the rest of the new EP? You should!
Image: Pooneh Ghana
Matt Grosinger is the music editor of Nerdist and hopes the Strokes’ new EP means there is another album on the way soon.