Album Review: The Strokes – Angles

By on Tuesday, 22nd March 2011 at 2:00 pm
 

For a band who have achieved the level of fame reserved only for a select few, the Strokes were under a lot of pressure with their latest album. ‘Angles’ is the band’s first release in 5 years since ‘First Impressions Of Earth’ which, frankly, was not as strong as debut record ‘Is This It?’ Could the New York City rockers revert back to their former glory and create a record to elevate them onto the next pedestal of rock ‘n’ roll infamy?

At first glance, ‘Angles’ looks nothing more than a filler album. Ten tracks which come in at just under 35 minutes is nothing less than unconventional compared to band’s other albums. Similarly, the band recently revealed to ShortList magazine that they were already working on the follow-up to this LP. So perhaps ‘Angles’ is a stopgap between longer albums and is more of a glorified EP?

The album begins with the very ’80s ‘Machu Picchu’ laced with electro synth pop intertwined with Julian Casablancas’ unmistakable voice. Despite not being the usual Strokes-esque track, it is catchy and could easily be a single. For an album expected to be the biggest thing in American indie this year, it’s an interesting choice for an opener. The first single from the album, ‘Under Cover Of Darkness’, is one of the best songs on the album. It’s upbeat, catchy and grows on you faster than a tropical disease. It’s undeniably the Strokes and ‘Angles’ is a much stronger album because of it, as some of the tracks simply aren’t the same standard, or even the same style.

The majority of the album doesn’t fit the mould of the band. Despite there being an obvious undertone of the New York noiseniks throughout, a lot of the songs deviate from the band’s usual sound and ultimately don’t fulfill the urges of a Strokes fan whose been waiting with baited breath for years. ‘You’re So Right’ and ‘Call Me Back’ are packed with effects and are much slower affairs than the Strokes’ usual repertoire.

‘Angles’ can’t actually figure out what it’s trying to be. ‘Taken For A Fool’ has a funk feel to it, whereas ‘Games’ reverts back to the ’80s style of ‘Machu Picchu’ earlier in the LP; it even features pan pipes! There are, however, some songs which work incredibly well. In fact, the latter part of the album. ‘Gratisfaction’ is an upbeat and overall happy song: with its chorus, it brings a nice bounciness to the slower and at times weaker tracks before it.

Album closer ‘Life Is Simple In The Moonlight’ is another prime song on the record. It’s quite minimal and chilled but doesn’t wander off into nothingness like a number of tracks on ‘Angles’. It is one of the best examples of a slower song by the Strokes in their entire back catalogue. Its chorus is upbeat and keeps the song moving along, keeping the band and unique sound alive. A great way to end an album which, overall, could have delivered better on its promise.

6/10

‘Angles’ by the Strokes is available now.

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