CRX “New Skin”
Like everyone, we’ve enjoyed plenty of Stroke’s songs (especially their debut album), but we’ve never quite been as enamoured as other people. Sure, they’ve got some great songs but they’re not as revolutionary as some critics would have us believe. It is therefore with a sense of intrigue rather than over the top excitement that we approached this release from their guitarist Nick Valensi.
Well, that was until we heard the awesome opening track, “Ways To Fake It”. It’s a brilliant power pop track, with an almost electro vibe to it. It sounds fun…. an emotion the Strokes tend to struggle with. In total contrast, “Broken Bones” has a dirty blues riff that Jack White would be proud of. They then manage to combine both those elements on “Give It Up”, which sounds dirty and swampy but also has an electro pop shine.. great stuff.
The Strokes always seemed to be burdened by the need to be ‘seriously cool’ and these songs suggest Nick is enjoying being free of that necessity. “Anything” is another upbeat sounding song with an almost Brit pop feel to it. Whilst “Walls” is just a blast of energy and “On Edge” is pure punk rock. It’s the real sound of a band from the Ramone’s home town!
None of this is to say that Strokes’ fans wont love this. They’ll certainly be attracted to the spiky sound of “Unnatural” and the indie disco feel of “Monkey Machine”. Although, the electro pop of “Our Track Mind” is more likely to appeal to 1975 fans.
Coming to this release with an open mind has probably done us a favour. It has helped us to recognise it as something a bit fresh and different, without the ‘baggage’ of it being released under a global ‘brand’. There are some great tracks and the best thing about it is the feeling they are being played for the right reasons i.e because they’re fun and loved, rather than being delivered to service a hungry major label.