Label: Rough Trade
On their fifth album, The Strokes coolly straddle the line between their earlier art-punk and their later electro-pop experiments. It's a great juxtaposition: Synths perpetually undulate, but guitars slash through it all with a vengeance. (They are a rock band first and foremost.) Meanwhile, Julian Casablancas keeps a cool composure, as always, fluctuating between restrained crooner -- almost whispering on the MJ-style funk of "Tap Out," then playing hypnotist on the mellotron-touched "80s Comedown Machine" -- to falsetto victor on synth-pop gem "One Way Trigger" to snarling punk on "50/50."