Today the NY-based group announced their latest EP, Future Present Past, which contains three new songs: “OBLIVIUS,” “Drag Queen,” and “Threat of Joy,” all of which you can and should check out below. “OBLIVIUS” features the dueling, angular, laser-accented guitar riffs that fans of Is This It? and Room On Fire will easily latch onto. Julian Casablancas’ whiskey-coated vocals sound as good as ever here, even if they are buried a bit too much in the mix (but I feel like this was an intentional decision, given the very lo-fi aesthetics of their 9-minute interview above).
“Drag Queen,” which debuted this morning on Zane Lowe’s Apple Music show on Beats 1, feels a little more experimental for the band given their usual confines. The initial rhythmic heaves are reminiscent of early New Order vibes, and then Julian takes you closer to Gary Numan vibes, and then there is a semi-discordant guitar solo that approaches Kraftwerk vibes! So many strange vibez man! Not sure how to feel about this ’80s leaning song yet, but going to listen probably 1,000 more times.
And finally on this EP is the track “Threat Of Joy,” which channels the breezier side of the Strokes’ first album. Feathery guitar strums lift up Julian Casablancas’ perfectly sharp voice to the ether. Personally, this song is my favorite of of the bunch, as the mix resembles that of their beloved work and juxtaposes sunny sounds with melancholy ideas. This is what the Strokes have always done best and it’s refreshing to hear that they are not simply over making songs like this.
For a more in depth check-in with the perennially cool NY band, check out a recent interview with them at the top of this post. It is the most I have ever seen Nikolai Fraiture talk in the history of the band, and Fab Moretti seems like such a stoner here! It’s great, and I hope this means we get another album from them even if it’s another fraught ordeal in which critics and fans compare them to their former selves.
Image: Cult Records, The Strokes
Matt Grosinger is the music editor of Nerdist and will always love the Strokes no matter what. Excuse him while he listens to “Someday” on repeat.