words by Ethan Cardinal

For The Strokes, their heavy weight precedence over the last 15 or so years within the music industry, which was once seen as a bright light, is now a glimpse of light permeating the new horizons of the pending future. The gravity of their EP fabricates the different meanings behind these three words. The past; a myriad of memories and adventures one can associate, but for the Strokes it has always been something run away. It seems as though die hard fans find relief through their dependence on the nostalgia of The Strokes first few albums. The present; illuminated by solo records and periodical appearances at nostalgia driven festivals. And the future; inevitably heads down the road and leads to the same question everyone is thinking; Will they make another album? Or is this year the last calling as we say goodbye to one of the greatest alternative bands that defined a new generation of music?

While their surprise release of their new EP ‘Future Present Past’ shocked and satisfied the expectations of long time fans and new fans alike, the future of The Strokes is unknown.

The opening song ‘Drag Queen’ sees Julian Casablancas clashing against the anti-capitalistic tendencies of modern day society through the typical Strokes formula of bold lyrics, fluid guitar riffs, precise drum beats, and each individual component is doused by the electronic hum The Strokes introduced and perfected sometime ago. Casablancas is well known for his bold lyrics and within ‘Drag Queen’, he is nothing short of brilliant and courageous, expressing his views on the harsh reality of capitalism. “Try to sell the water/Try to sell the air/Try to sell your daughter/Try to sell her hair”. Opening with such a bold and wild first song on this EP invites listeners into thinking that while they were gone for a while, The Strokes will not die without one last bang.

After the wildness of ‘Drag Queen’, Casablancas shifts into a lighter tone within ‘Oblivius’ reflecting on his tormented past before seeking clarity, expressing a short but powerful phrase “Untame me”. The transparency of this track provides listeners an insight into the catharsis of Casablancas through his lyrics non more significant in which it is interweaved within the chorus where Casablancas effectively loses himself in the potency of his lyrics, belting out repeatedly “What side are you standing on?”. The strength of this individual track is no doubt within the lyrics, the buoyancy of the riffs along with Casablancas honest vocals creates a perfect symbiotic relationship that adds depth and honesty within this EP.

The third track ‘Threat of Joy’ sees Casablancas subtly follow the stream of nostalgia and the past through sound but indicating a more positive outlook of the future through his lyrics. Everything about the layers of sound through this song screams a spirited blast from the past. The bouncy and upbeat of the rhythm, the warmer tone of Casablancas’ voice and the bright atmosphere of this song is nothing short of refreshing.

Mystery has forever accelerated the mythology and grandeur of The Strokes. Casablancas peculiar honesty and transparency within ‘Future Present Past’ is what is most alluring to those who have listened carefully to Casablancas stories through three songs. The brilliance of their latest EP adds to the mystery of this iconic band. The Strokes always have and always will be the same unique and mystifying band, but in the simplest form, this EP ‘Future Present Past’ simply leaves them floating in musical limbo, not knowing whether to move forward or look back.

Rating: ★★★★☆

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