Has it really been 10 years since The Strokes’ debut album and is this really it? 10 years ago, none of this would’ve mattered. Rock was nothing but a memory of long hair and bad acid trips. Then came this bunch of raggy-looking kids with guitars and skinny jeans, and the whole world started having fun again and singing about ‘Last Night’. Boy, those were good times. 2 predictable albums and lotsa fame followed, then suddenly in ’09, Julian Casablancas and guitarist Nick Valensi stepped out of the spotlight to create “music from the future” (or their next album, as some people call it).
3 years later, Angles arrives and Nick says it “was an awful experience”. Way to show positivism for your bandmates, dude. From what we’ve read, people either hate or love this album. Perhaps 3 years is too long a wait and adds gravity to judgement. But with an album that’s miles away from anything The Strokes have done before, it’s understandable that you might laugh at something like Julian’s Kurt Cobain impression on the dÃ©pÃªche-depressive ‘You’re So Right’ (“I don’t wanna hurt you, I don’t wanna hurt you”, yet you do Julian).
The album begins unsurely with ‘Machu Picchu’, a Caribbean reggae bopper that’s neither here nor there but hardly, even with its catchiness, a fitting opener to a much-anticipated release. ‘Under Cover Of Darkness’, their 1st single, brings back the joy of ‘Last Night’ but ends too fast. It’s easy to associate The Strokes with drunken lethargy, but the shredding guitar bits and songwriting on ‘Two Kinds Of Happiness’ show that they’ve matured as a band and as individual players (as with Julian’s decision to sound mat rock-ish on that track).
A more disco and electronic side is shown on the 2nd part of the album, and some of it sounds like outtakes from Julian’s solo effort. ‘Call Me Back’ is an otherwise pretty bossa nova track, except that it has a strange bridge like a ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’-ish counterpart (sounding drunk again). ‘Gratisfaction’ bolts right after with a happy melody vs. an ironic lyrical twist (sounding Sesame Street drunk).
By the time we reached closer ‘Life Is Simple In The Moonlight’ (our fave track), we really believed this was “music from the future”. Either that or it’s a grower. We’ll let you know in another 10 years…
LISTEN TO: ‘Under Cover Of Darkness’, ‘Machu Picchu’, Life Is Simple In The Moonlight’
IF YOU LIKE THIS YOU’LL DIG: The Vaccines, The Libertines, Little Joy
1. Machu Picchu
2. Under Cover Of Darkness
3. Two Kinds Of Happiness
4. You’re So Right
5. Taken For A Fool
7. Call Me Back
10. Life Is Simple In The Moonlight