New York legends The Strokes are back, with their highly anticipated new album ‘Angles‘. Almost five years since the release of ‘First Impressions of Earth‘, it seems fair to say that their biggest fans (myself included) have been waiting on this album like the second coming of the messiah. The amount of teasers that proliferated youtube and other sites before D-day proved how high expectations stand.
On explaining the album’s name guitarist Albert Hammond Jr stated that “it’s what it sounds like. It comes from five different people.” On the other hand Nic Valensi was not so enthusiastic expressing his dissatisfaction towards the way the album was made and being quoted as saying that Julian Casablancas was often absent or recorded separately, sometimes leading Valensi to record his guitar parts alone in the studio. So much for letting bygones be bygones…
Nevertheless this album works and after a five year break we weren’t expecting less. A healthy dose of stabbing and ill-tempered guitars, a glass of Moretti‘s masterful beats, a splash of Casablanca‘s unique deep/dry howl… all the ingredients that made The Strokes one of the best rock’n’roll bands in circulation have been recovered on ‘Angles‘.
The album opens majestically with ‘Machu Picchu‘, where guitars smoothly imitate the beat of synthesisers. ‘Under Cover of Darkness‘, the first single, is probably the track that most follows a ‘Strokesian‘ tradition through its prodigious rhythm, rage and garage atmosphere.
‘Taken For a Fool‘ is in my opinion one of the highlights of the album; its ambitious rhythm and Casablancas‘ unique cry for ‘Mama‘ definitely makes it one of those songs that will stay in your head for a long time. It is even more sensational live and I would strongly recommend watching their performance on Letterman. The band also seem keen to add new beats and sounds to the mix offering a more electronic vibe on some trakcs as evidenced by ‘Games‘ or ‘Two Kinds of Happiness‘.
‘Angles‘ is not as raw as ‘Is this It‘ or dark as ‘First Impressions of Earth‘ but it should be celebrated as a fantastic return for the quintet; the members all participated and it works as a result of it. Ultimately the tracks complement each other perfectly making this a great album rather than a collection of great songs.
Moretti and Hammond cut their afros, Casablancas is not as drunk, Valensi doesn’t look like a hobbit anymore…. more than a decade has passed since we first discovered them, and they have changed, we have changed… let’s all appreciate that. Welcome back!
Post by the irrepressible Olivia