The Strokes
Future Present Past


2.0
poor

Review

by anatelier CONTRIBUTOR (23 Reviews)
May 27th, 2016 | 85 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Tell us a story. I know you're not boring.

To name and base an EP around the premise of what is, what was, and what will be isn't inherently uninspired. The passage of time is a powerful and loaded theme for the arts, concerned with ideas of change, whether in the form of pro- or regression. Here though, the terms 'future', 'present' and 'past' are just three maudlin mascots, pumping pom-poms with slack wrists and sagged jowls for the creatively insipid.

The future of The Strokes is a shrug. 'Drag Queen' seems uncertain of itself, a foray into post-punk influences that takes fresh ingredients and tosses them in the microwave. Whilst its chorus is gripping and muscular, and bolstered by an uneasy bassline, the rest of the track is content to not do much of anything. Casablanca's amp-fed vocals are as devoid of personality as they've ever been, compressed and flattened like a Photobucket .jpeg, serving only as a trademark of the band's sound and not as something to take an active interest in.

The present of The Strokes is a shrug. The misspelt title 'OBLIVIUS' is, I can only imagine, intentional, though whether it's for any particular reason is up for debate. It's as catchy a tune as they've crafted, utilising spindly twin guitars and a vocal performance that actually feels momentous – but all the gravitas is lost in the shaky, uneven production and gutless vocal effects. The guitars are too high in the mix, and they begin to nag like bored budgies, and Julian, so as not to appear as though he gives a shit and tarnish his cool dude rep, records his vocals facing the ceiling with the microphone pressed against his Adam's apple.

The past of The Strokes is a shrug. “Okay, I see how it is now. You don't have time to play with me any more.” Well, no, not if you're gonna fart around with embarrassing, unnecessary ad-libs like that. The laziest of the three original tracks on this EP, 'Threat of Joy' would do better if it was called 'Threat to Joy'. As a laid-back tune, it doesn't work – it's laid back too far and fallen asleep. As a call to the past, it doesn't work – it does the band a disservice by not revisiting the strength of early singles that made them such a spirited and revered outfit. It skulks from start to finish, sounding completely bored of itself, adamant in its cause to not be of interest to anyone.

If the intention was for each track to be a time capsule – to act as ambassadors for the various stages of The Strokes' career – then Future Present Past has fallen way short of the mark. If they're not actually meant to be so indicative, which I think is the case, then it was a mistake to give the EP such a misguided afterthought of a title. That the EP coincides with the launch of Julian Casablanca's radio show, as well as the band's signing to Julian's own 5-year-old label in Cult Records, tells me that this is merely a stopgap, a brief shove into the public eye. It reeks of resting on laurels, of tepid complacency, of trademarks as a crutch. To start with the Future and end with the Past – it just seems to point to deterioration. To a shrug.



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neekafat (4)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
anatelier
Contributing Reviewer
May 27th 2016


2029 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

*shrug*/5

DoofusWainwright
Contributing Reviewer
May 27th 2016


17129 Comments


You're good at writing negative reviews :D

I remember you saying you don't like them but this is a quality read. I haven't listened to the EP yet but I find The Strokes hit and miss at the best of times

Digging: Skitz - Countryman

anatelier
Contributing Reviewer
May 27th 2016


2029 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Is This It, Room on Fire and First Impressions all have really good tracks, but I've not liked much of anything since then. They just don't strike me as a band that needs any sort of longevity.

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
May 27th 2016


20137 Comments


this review rubs me the wrong way for some reason...haven't even listened to the EP but still

WatchItExplode
May 27th 2016


5074 Comments


nice...sadly not feeling this at all

anatelier
Contributing Reviewer
May 27th 2016


2029 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

@Conmaniac: I'm not often compelled to write negative reviews - it's usually when I'm frustrated at the band because I know they're not performing up to par.

I didn't even talk about the 'remix' on this because it didn't seem fair to criticise something that isn't theirs. It says as much as the originals before it though, because it's just as pointless.

bloc
May 27th 2016


45331 Comments


Pos because microwave analogy

Digging: Flotsam and Jetsam - Doomsday for the Deceiver

Tunaboy45
May 27th 2016


15699 Comments


They have the Stone Roses problem of everything they release being in the shadow of their disproportionately great debut.

theNateman
May 27th 2016


3160 Comments


their debut wasn't all that great tho. It was decent, but nothing more. This band's whole discography is *shrug*/5

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
May 27th 2016


20137 Comments


woah there. also yeah the whole "shrug" thing pisses me off

Sinternet
May 27th 2016


15101 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

the debut is pretty much only hyped so much because it was pretty influential, like it's pretty good but nothing amazing

Digging: Charli XCX - Pop2

anatelier
Contributing Reviewer
May 27th 2016


2029 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

The shrug thing isn't my reaction to the EP per se, more to do with how I view the band and the effort they're making. They come off as slapdash and uncaring.

Tunaboy45
May 27th 2016


15699 Comments


the debut is overhyped but still pretty influential, which is more than can be said for the rest of their discography

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
May 27th 2016


20137 Comments


nah I getcha I'm not actually mad lol. their whole discography isn't shrug/10 tho. review is well written

anatelier
Contributing Reviewer
May 27th 2016


2029 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

They used to be really adept at making catchy as hell singles, but I don't see them as much of an album band tbh. Reptilia, You Only Live Once, Take It or Leave It all jam hard. Thx for words.

DoofusWainwright
Contributing Reviewer
May 27th 2016


17129 Comments


^ exactly, I see them as a band whose best album will be the collected singles 'Best Of' at the end of their career

I'm probably going to get shot down for this but I see Jack White/The White Stripes as similar in this way

Tunaboy45
May 27th 2016


15699 Comments


I know what you mean with the White Stripes Doof, the only real difference is that WS are infinitely better than The Strokes

DoofusWainwright
Contributing Reviewer
May 27th 2016


17129 Comments


True that

apokolypz
May 27th 2016


489 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

they're done

anatelier
Contributing Reviewer
May 27th 2016


2029 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

The amp vocals are super thick on this, listening to their older stuff it becomes so apparent. If the vocals were just uninhibited I'd be able to bump this by maybe a whole 1.0 point.



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