Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Strokes - "Angles"

After a four year hiatus with most members chasing their muse on various solo projects, The Strokes returned this week with their highly anticipated new album Angles. First and foremost, this is not Is This It but it is also not First Impressions of Earth either. So if you can get past the lofty expectations and anticipation, Angles is a surprisingly memorable affair even if it is a little disjointed.

Standouts include the neon-reggae of the album opener “Machu Picchu” (which might be about Pokemon) and the dueling guitars and swagger on the excellent first single, “Under Cover Of Darkness”, which could be remembered as one of their best songs. Gone though is the “cooler-than-thou” 70’s post-punk that made Is This It so great and in its place is a sound transfixed with New Wave and power-pop, like the very Cars-like “Two Kinds of Happiness” that also burns with a fast paced flickering guitar solo just as hooky as any of the choruses on the album. Strange detours like the icy synths on “Games” sound like a chillwave remix of a Strokes’ song and the spacey “You’re So Right” feels out of place here like a leftover from Julian’s solo album. But “Taken For a Fool” picks back up with tinny guitars and a twitchy rhythm and “Gratisfaction” is just plain shout-it-out power-pop fun.

While much has been made of the inner-band strife and the disappointment of following up such a game changing album, taken for what it is, Angles will surprise and satisfy even the most jaded of fans.

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