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Track Review: The Strokes' 'At The Door'

Some seven years since the release of their last album, ‘Comedown Machine’, The Strokes have emerged with a newfound sound. Performing a benefit gig in support of Bernie Sander’s US presidential bid, the New York 5-piece announced the upcoming release of their new studio endeavour, ‘The New Abnormal’, on April 10th.

Subsequently, the band shared the album’s lead track, ‘At the Door’, along with a music video which cuts together a series of animated clips in the style of a 90’s cartoon. Featuring rabid rabbits and mystical aliens of intergalactic worlds, the video – directed by Mike Burakoff – looks like something plucked straight from the superhero show ‘He-Man’.

Opening with an eerie and celestial electronic synth, ‘At the Door’ immediately sets itself aside from the typical work of The Strokes. The first half of the song is remarkably subtle, consisting only of a repetitive melody and the familiar nuances of Julian Casablancas’ understated tone. As the frontman, in an adequately meta (and somewhat comical) fashion, calls upon the entrance of chords, the chorus launches and the rest of the band provide a more nostalgic note to the song.

The track appears reflective and inward-looking, as Casablancas sings of how they have ‘lost this game // so many times before’, drawing attention to the criticism The Strokes have received for previous albums, namely 2006’s ‘First Impressions of Earth’. Casablancas refers to his own messy thoughts and likens himself to a ‘little boy’ running toward a seemingly endless goal; the band seem to be grappling with the failure of their 2016 attempted restart, and redefining themselves for a new age.

While ‘At the Door’ may not contain the charge and energy of the well-known classics, such as crowd-favourite ‘Reptilia’, it does leave you wanting more. This curious track will undoubtedly lead into a stylised album which is unlike anything The Strokes have produced hitherto.

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