Angles review by The Strokes

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  • Released: Mar 22, 2011
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 7.7 Good
  • Users' score: 8.6 (129 votes)
The Strokes: Angles
1

Sound — 8
"Everybody's singing the same song for ten years," roars Julian Casablancas on Under Cover Of Darkness, the first single of The Strokes' new album Angles. Ever since The Strokes broke through to the mainstream with their first album Is This It? In 2001, every other indie rock song you hear on the radio sounds like it could have been penned by Casablancas and the gang. For The Strokes, Angles is their opportunity to prove that they are still relevant and not simply a relic of the Naughties, and they do not fail to deliver. The opening track "Machu Picchu" takes you in a time warp back to the '80's, and that New Wave vibe lingers throughout the entire album. With it's catchiness and captivating instrumentation during the chorus, it puts the album off to a great start. Angles doesn't slow down for a second and heads straight into the first single and the most "Strokes-ish" song on the album, "Under Cover of Darkness". With the classic dual guitar of Nick Valensi and Albert Hammond Jr., the track is reminiscent of earlier songs in The Strokes catalog like "Someday." The rest of the album returns to the '80's sound that Julian has been experimenting with since his solo debut. The Strokes wear their Cars' influence on their sleeve on "Two Kinds of Happiness", with Casablancas doing his best Ric Ocasek impersonation. "You're So Right" is a little drony New Wave type of track, but features an awesome guitar solo. "Taken For a Fool" is danceable and catchy, sounding like something that you'd hear on an iPod commercial. The album starts to slow down a bit about halfway through. The '80's sound continues on "Games", although overall I feel like it's the most forgettable song on the album. "Call Me Back" starts off with a poppy guitar hook, but takes an interesting turn during the chorus and bridge that might take some getting used to. The album picks back up with "Gratisfaction", which sounds a bit like Thin Lizzy and features a chorus filled with backing vocals. The penultimate track, the menacing "Metabolism", has a dominant riff that sounds like it could be off of First Impressions of Earth (for better or for worse). The album closes with the contemplative track "Life is Simple in the Moonlight". With its volume swells and lackadaisical vocals, the low-key versus crescendo into a catchy and powerful chorus and a lively Nick Valensi guitar solo, creating a perfect closer that leaves you wanting more.

Lyrics — 7
In typical Casablancas fashion, the lyrics sometimes sound as if they could be made up on the spot, with the occasional flash of brilliance striking through. The topics seem to deal mostly with relationships and Casablancas's struggles within The Strokes. "Monday, Tuesday is my weekend", he croons during the chorus of "Taken for a Fool", almost lamenting the life of being a performer. "Animals on TV singing about something they once felt" from "Life is Simple in the Moonlight" is another example of this sort of feeling he portrays on this album. It is worth noting that Casablancas has very much improved his singing ability, probably from both practice and sobering up. When I saw them live, I was surprised at his skill level, considering he not known for being the best vocalist out there. He experiments with his singing a bit during Angles, but mostly sticks to the Morrison-like growl we know him for.

Overall Impression — 8
Angles will not give you the same feeling that you had the first time you heard Is This It?. It'll probably take a few listens to appreciate the album, but overall, I'm pretty satisfied. If you like The Strokes, 80's music, interesting guitar and synth lines, and brightly colored artwork then Angles is the album for you. "Don't try to stop us, get out of the way", shouts Jules at the album's close, and let's hope that there is no stopping the boys from NYC on their future releases.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    SpiceyWeinerPHD
    I finally listened to the whole album and I gotta say I like it for the most part. The first three songs are awesome to the max. "You're So Right" reminded me of a song from Julian's solo album, almost like this a different direction he wanted to go with. At first though I didn't like it, that song left me in a weird place like someone just pinched my ass and I look and I can't tell if thats a handsome women or a pretty man. "Taken For a Fool" is AMAZING I absolutely love this song. I like how its very dancy and groovy. "Call Me Back" is another weird one. If you can appreciate the concept of tonal contrast you'll like this song. "Gratisfaction" is another nice one. It sounds a lot like The Beatles, I can totally hear Paul McCartney singing this song, the chorus is a dead give away of its Beatleness. "Metabolism" sounds like it kinda belongs in First Impressions of Earth. Catchy in a odd way but has a good driving verse. "Life is Simple In The Moonlight" is still growing on me but I don't hate it. I heard someone describe this song as jazzy and they couldn't be more on crack, there is next to no jazz influence in this song. Over all its different, a little 80s at times but the good kind of 80s.As one of the members of The Strokes described the album was called Angles because its written by 5 people. So picture if you can a pentagon, each corner has a different painting and all the corners are inching their way to the middle. You are in the middle and you can visit these depictions at anytime you want.
    PatheticMutt182
    Gotta say, love this album. The Strokes have yet to disappoint me with any of their albums. The experimental thing they had going on with this album was truly great.
    Mr. Dragon
    I believe that the sound and impressions on this album is exactly what the strokes were going for. As a strokes fan, i let my heart enjoy the album and i dont want to critisize the one band that got me laid for the first time.