Tuesday, March 15, 2011

ALBUM REVIEW - The Strokes - 'Angles'

    Amidst currently being in the middle of a really lousy week, there has been one thing that has helped keep me from angrily going outside and punching a random stranger in the face: I was able to get my hands on a copy of The Strokes’ highly-anticipated fourth LP, Angles.**

    “Machu Picchu” opens the album with a reggae heavy hook, featuring Nick Valensi and Albert Hammond, Jr. shooting guitar riffs back and forth at each other. A little unorthodox in comparison to how they’ve began their albums in the past, but any uncertainness is put to rest when the second track, “Under Cover of Darkness,” begins. Sure to be one of the summer’s biggest songs, this the best Strokes single since “Reptilia."

    The diversity of styles doesn’t stop after the first two tracks. “Two Kinds of Happiness” begins with a ‘80s sounding, Police-like riff, but then hits you when the chorus rolls around. If that song at all surprised you, then you will definitely be scratching your head when you hear “You’re So Right.” I’ll just say that I would not be shocked if Julian stole this song from Thom Yorke’s computer. Sounding more like Radiohead than The Strokes, this song is 154 seconds of pure confusion. It is at this point that, if you are like me, you begin to wonder whether “Under Cover of Darkness” was a huge tease for what the rest of the album was going to sound like (stick with it, trust me). Luckily, “Taken for a Fool” returns the band back to their more original, catchy sound before we are pulled back into the ‘80s with “Games.” If I’ve learned anything at this point, it is that they named this album perfectly. There is so many dimensions on Angles (see what I did there?), and this is clear after only six songs.
“Call Me Back” is probably the most forgettable song on the album, partially due to the following track, “Grastification,” and the instantly catchy, happy “Fool in the Rain”-esque chords the song entails. “Metabolism,” sounding like a Muse song at times, goes back to the aggression heard on “You’re So Right.” Then the albums wraps up with the stellar “Life is Simple in the Moonlight.” Having this serve as the albums’ closing track saves Angles from being totally misunderstood.

    Do we have another Is This It on our hands? No, and we probably (sadly) never will again. But what we do have is at the very least an interesting album with a couple of killer singles. This is The Strokes’ version of Evil Urges. It won’t be for everyone, but true fans will definitely appreciate it. I’m on my eleventh listen right now, and I can honestly say that the album is growing on me more with each listen. When it comes down to it, it’s The Strokes; even if they aren’t on their “A-game,” this album is still better than 90% of what has been released in 2011 so far.

Verdict: 4 out of 5 stars.

Stand Out Tracks: “Under Cover of Darkness,” “Life is Simple in the Moonlight,” “Grastification”

** Please support The Strokes by purchasing a physical or digital copy of the album when it is officially released next Tuesday.


Chris said...

i'm just not impressed at all . . .aside from the opener, it all sounds like i've heard it before on previous strokes albums. it seems like this album is just status quo at best.

Chris said...

This album is going to be received a lot like MGMT's 'Congratulations' was. People are either going to really enjoy the different style or they're going to think that it's garbage.

Jason said...

I never got into the Strokes but this record is doing it for me. What Strokes should I be listening to NMM Chris?

Chris said...

let me preface this by saying that i am, in now conceivable way, a big strokes fan. "room on fire" and "is this it" were decent. longtime radiohead producer, nigel godrich, gave them a nice sound on room on fire, too. i just like the stripped down sound of the early stuff better. again, i'm not the biggest fan, so take this all with a grain of salt.

Chris said...

In my opinion, you can't really go wrong. 'Room On Fire' is really doing it for me right now. Here's probably my favorite Strokes' song with Jack White sitting in: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-f-o1OBjBPc