It took five years for five guys to get back to making record with each other. Today The Strokes release the long awaited Angles (BMG) and celebration is in order. It’s funny to hear how much The Strokes have evolved since their early records. They sound so different but appear to be the same all at once. Somehow a band that seems as distant as ever with each other has made their most cohesive record to date. Every Stroke brings a little bit of himself onto Angles and it works well. Really well.
Starting off with the infectious “Machu Picchu,” which has a taste of 80’s vibe in it, kicks off the record with a bang. It starts a little mellow in the beginning and then when you least expect it, Julian Casablancas’ voice punches you in the face along with the driving guitars. The hook in this song is brilliant. We’re in love already. The first single “Under Cover of Darkness,” gets better with every listen as Casablancas’ vocals howl throughout the song. The rest of the band goes along with it as all of the elements come together without flaw. One amazing thing about this record is that it delivers song after song with catchy hooks and melodic vocals. It stands out from the very beginning.
To continue with the 80’s feeling, “Two Kinds of Happiness,” is Cars-esque without a doubt. The Strokes never become copycats though and remain true to themselves in every inch of the record. “You’re So Right,” and “Taken For A Fool,” bring a tad bit of retro punk element into Angles (BMG) but at the same time, carry a bit of old school Strokes into the mix. That’s the great thing about the band. You never know where a song is going to go. That’s a good thing. “Games,” will make you want to get up and start dancing around the room. Albert Hammond Jr.’s and Nick Valensi’s guitars intertwine throughout this song in particular, with a hint of synths behind them filling the space in between. This is something a little different for The Strokes.
“Call Me Back,” slows down the record a bit with Casablancas and a slow picked guitar for the most part. This track is haunting and brings a nice low key tone to the album, something The Strokes have tried on First Impressions of Earth (BMG) with “Ask Me Anything.”
“Gratisfaction,” is dead on Is This It, (BMG) which sounds like it could have been a leftover track. We know it’s not, but it may fool you. With a hint of retro and a tad of T-Rex sound, this song will surely win over your heart fast. The rhythm section of Fab Moretti and Nikokai Fraiture blend nicely together keeping the back bone of the song under Valensi’s blissful guitar riffs. “Metabolism,” is the darkest song on the record that picks up in intensity. It reminds us a bit of an old video game, which is a compliment. The guitar solos swallow the song whole, as the album heads towards the end. Closing the album is “Life is Simple in the Moonlight,” which is a perfect final track. Casablancas knows how to not only write a vocal melody but sing it to perfection. Be prepared to have this song on repeat.
It took us five years to get Angles, (BMG), and it was worth every minute of the wait. Can we say “Album of the Year”?