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March 26, 2013 - Image 7

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I* The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Tuesday, March 26, 2013 -7

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - 7

"Why haven't you brought our food yet?"
Depeche Mode blends
past sounds on 'Delta'

Strokes strike
again on, new LP

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'Comedown 1980s-inspiredwouldbeanunder-
statement: The title song is called
ichine' surprises "80's Comedown Machine." No,
the Strokes aren't quite the same
ith'80s sound band that they used to be at all.
Unfortunately, while the
By KATIE STEEN Strokes have indeed evolved, they
Daily MusicEditor have failed to progress in many
instances on Comedown Machine.
hen the album art for The album has a clean, upbeat
Strokes' fifth album was sound that's less cigarettes and
led, fans with any knowl- Converse and more e-cigs and
of the neon Adidas. "Welcome to Japan"
s record- is a flashy, snappy track that
contract bumps along until it hits a chorus
o chuckle. The Strokes that fails to take itself seriously let
artwork alone make coherent sense. Musi-
simple Comedown cally, it bears strong resemblance
old, a red Machine to Julian's highly electronic solo
round work, but lyrically, it reads like a
the drunken Facebook chat. Julian
's record begs the listener to come over on
RCA, plastered across the Wednesday, later adding, "wel-
ominating the design. This come to Japan" in a tone reserved
t, in light of the fact that for greeting tourists, along with
down Machine is the band's the mysterious line "scuba danc-
album for its five-album ing touchdown" in a deep, mock-
act with RCA, seemed to sensual voice. The Strokes have
ninous. This is, after all, an never been known for ground-
n with "comedown" in the breaking lyrics, but at least they
- an album that could very used to actually mean something.
be the Strokes' last record Comedown Machine also sur-
dering their contract. Lis- prises us with falsetto, an awk-
s have to wonder, then: Is ward first for the Strokes (this is
t for the Strokes? Julian Casablancas we're talk-
almost impossible, when 'ng about - his voice is like dark
ing to Comedown Machine, chocolate smoking a cigarette
t search for traces of the wrapped in velvet, OK). Julian's
days of the band, back when high register in "Chances" ren-
s were filtered, Albert still ders the song pretty much a joke,
is fro and you could almost and yet, it's a joke that boasts a
t Julian Casablancas to pretty damn catchy melody. "One
a microphone across the Way Trigger," the first single off
of any given performance. the album, features the same fal-
Strokes seemed to revive setto that prompted unsuspecting
ican rock overnight, but first-listeners to wonder, "Is this
importantly they had a good even the Strokes?"
doing it. But with the release "Partners in Crime" similarly
band's 2011 LP, Angles, we kicks off semi-offensively with
to see a new Strokes - a a juddering guitar that's obnox-
of men who now had fami- ious more than anything, but the
nd solo careers, who had song blooms into a buzzing, perky
n apart and gotten a little thing with an infectious chorus.
in the process, who couldn't It's a rather delightful track, but
be bothered to get together unfortunately the Strokes had to
ually record the album. provide an alter-ego with "50/50,"
t we have to remem- a quick, angry little monster that
hat Angles, with all of its attempts but fails to harness the
-inspired hooks, at least intensity found in old flames like
red us for the change in "Reptilia" or "Juicebox" or, hell,
I found in the fifth album. even "Take It Or Leave It." The
to call Comedown Machine chorus sounds like something

you'd hear blaring from behind
an eighth-grade boy's closed door
after he just "discovered punk."
And yet, and yet, and yet ... Julian's
voice sounds great with the filter
on. Oh, how we've missed that fil-
Comedown Machine begins to
wind down around "Happy End-
ing," a misnomer for several rea-
sons - the first being that it's not
the last track. The album actu-
ally ends with "Call It Fate, Call
It Karma," a beautiful, vintage-
sounding track that features a
filtered Julian - his vocals soft
and romantic - with dreamy
flourishes of warm instrumenta-
tion including what sounds like
cellos. The track feels out of place
compared to the jaunty, fast-
paced pieces that compose most
of Comedown Machine, but "Call
It Fate, Call It Karma" really is the
saving grace of the album.
The music video for "All the
Time" - the second single off
Comedown Machine - shows
a montage of clips from the
Strokes' past and present. While
most of the video consists of clips
of past performances, there's
plenty of extraneous footage as
well - Nikolai flipping off the
camera, Julian eating grapes,
the boys playing ping pong and
shooting toy guns. The Strokes
look like they're having fun in
the video because they are hav-
ing fun, and it sounds like they
were on Comedown Machine as
well. Hell, the song "Slow Ani-
mals" ends with the sound of
the Strokes laughing - a sound
we've all missed.
While the band isn't planning
on touring for this album, Niko-
lai offered a glimmer of hope
for the future of the Strokes in
an interview with BBC: "We
just finished the album and I
feel good about it and the atmo-
sphere in the band. Hopefully
it continues." The Strokes don't
have to make any more albums
under RCA, and fans might not
be too pleased with the direction
their music has been heading,
but we can't help agreeing with
Nikolai in that we all still hope
the Strokes keep on being the

Daily Arts Writer
Depeche Mode has led elec-
tronic music for three decades.
These three seasoned musicians
have entered
their 50s, but
they show no
signs of slow- Depeche
ing down in Mode
the 2010s.
The group's Delta Machine
release of Delta Columbia
Machine has a
lot to prove -
each new decade since Depeche
Mode's formation has been a turn-
ing point in the band's creative
direction. Whenever Depeche
Mode releases its first album of
a decade, it both reflects global
changes in music and breathes
innovative wind into the industry.
Delta Machine, therefore, bears a
lot of weight on its back.
The new record shows influ-
ence from every preceding
Depeche Mode era, and the
band's strategy is seemingly to
pick and choose from its existing
repertoire and bolster these ideas
with new techniques.
Listen to Delta Machine with a
high-quality set of stereo speak-
ers, because one of the main
assets of the album is its produc-
tion and the architecture of its
sound space. This production
quality emerged as a strength
for the band with Exciter in the
2000s, and new technology and
experience have allowed them to
make this new release more of a
sonic experience than an album.
If you're sitting in a room with

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ice speakers, don't make transforms the track, drawing the
take of sitting down and listener in and empowering the
to listen to this record chorus.
oing your homework. You Some of the 1980s Depeche
be able to; the intricacy Mode sound comes out in these
some of the tracks a sen- compositions. The band brings
erload. back the repetitive, chorus-
he 1990s, Depeche Mode focused sound that defines its
its hat to rising grunge first albums, but it still manages
ce with gritty, angsty to work in a modern context. The
in Ultra. Some of these tracks succeed at sticking with
make a comeback in Delta the listener in a way that a lot of
e. There's a strong low end the band's material since the mil-
hout the album in general, lennium has failed to do.
tile sometimes dirty-rock The group even digs into
fill the bottom, the band its 1970s repertoire. The Cure
ses some sounds that influenced Depeche Mode even
represent the new decade. before its official formation, and
, thick bass synths that you can hear it on Delta Machine.
treble for subwoofer-level The guitar work on "Slow" and
sns reveal influence from other tracks and the melodies in
chno styles and even hip- "Heaven" are at times so remi-
duction. niscent of The Cure that you'd
he vocal end, lead singer expect a credit in the CD book-
Depeche Mode presents an
impressive and creative concoc-
tion of past techniques in Delta
ew decade. Machine. Unfortunately, while
some new synths and techniques
appear, the band just doesn't
steer itself or the industry in a
ahan experiments with new directionwith this album. If
e on Delta Machine. A lot of these musical giants still do have
gs on the album are slower a leash around the, rmsi scene,
in the style of the last few they certainly haven't pulled
s, but on some of the tracks hard enough to change its path.
hear a rich bel canto style To its credit, there's no denying
tg, operatic baritone sing- that Delta Machine would have
h Elvis-like vibrato - that been groundbreaking if it had
a hidden power in Dave been released five years ago, and
s repertoire. On "My Little if Depeche Mode's momentum
e," he tries another new hasn't slowed for the last time,
ue by getting up close to maybe its next album will do a
rophone and singing with better job of leaping ahead and
pery intimacy. The effect pulling music forward with it.


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Expected pop on'Nati ve'

E-mail arts@michigandaily.com to request an application.

Daily Arts Writer
Falling off the radar for one
too many years, OneRepublic
answers the call for a return, and
doesn't spare a
single inch of
detail to assem-
ble a third stu- OneRepublic
dio album. Ryan
Tedder certain- Native
ly lost no pace Interscope
with his writing
and producing, Too tall for the photo crop.
parenting the work of numerous
industry record-breakers, includ- final release of the album.
ing hits like Adele's "Rumor Has The album hosts an assort-
It" and "Turning Tables." Now, ment of styles, while remaining
Tedder has taken the time to relatively coherent - a benefit of
release work for his chief musical controlling the majority of writ-
love child that incorporates new ing, producing and performing
sounds for a new decade with the on a record. Native's opening
familiar OneRepublic merriment track, "Counting Stars," resem-
and heartbreak the world will bles a double-time "Stop and
assuredly "feel again." Stare," while "If I Lose Myself"
An established writer in pop- sports new, contemporary elec-
brand music, Benny Blanco col- tronics. Tedder's inspiration for
laborates with Tedder and the "If I Lose Myself" came from his
gang on a few tracks, includ- paranoia of plane crashes.
ing the record's second single Tedder has a superb set of
"If I Lose Myself." Blanco has pipes, and the ambient essence
been showcasing a new fervor of the album - paying particu-
for composing pop-rock music lar attention to "Can't Stop"
for bands, beginning with his and "Don't Look Down" - isn't
work on Maroon 5's Overex- enough to muffle the lead sing-
posed, with the hit single "Pay- er's fiery vocals. Speaking of
phone." Tedder and Blanco "Don't Look Down," there are a
have crossed paths over recent few filler tracks that are nearly
years, both writing and produc- wordless and don't particularly
ing for Maroon S and Gym Class benefit anyaspects of the record.
Heroes, so it's not surprising to Regrettably, however, OneRe-
see this direct collaboration on public drops a few notches on
Native. the originality of these styles,
"Rumor has it" that Adele exhibiting many characteristics
intended to be featured on the of Coldplay's multi-platinum
record (along with her song- worldwide success, Mylo Xylo-
writing partner in crime, Paul to. Chris Martin and his band-
Epworth), but neither are on the mates won the race to releasing

this decade's contemporary
electronic rock album, and the
contrast to OneRepublic's latest
release exposes a few stylistic
areas where Native falls short.
One might say it's trying to live
"Life in Technicolor," rather
than live "Life in Color."
OneRepublic's emotional
gusto continues to illustrate
its nearly bipolar creations - a
bitter declaration of expired
affection with the previous hit
"Apologize" in contrast with
the buoyant dance revival, "Feel
Again," Native's lead single. Per
usual OneRepublic, each song
sustains a uniform feeling.
The pop rock band's third
studio album - much like its
previous records - is capable of
stirring a great deal of empathy,
so prepare to share the mind
of the quintet, be it merry or



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