As is the case with any band that has a successful debut album, following it up was a process. While Room on Fire was acclaimed for sticking close to their original sound, 2006’s First Impressions of Earth was not well-received for attempting to move beyond that sound, adding more overt pop rock elements. The band went on hiatus for 4 years, each member working on solo projects. The band re-appeared at Lollapalooza in 2010, and announced after that show that they were working on a new album, which is what I am reviewing today.
Angles is the first Strokes album in 5 years. Musically, the album is a cross between the rawness of their first two albums and a strong influence from 1980’s new wave bands. Keyboards are very prominent on several tracks, such as album opener “Maccu Piccu” which is based around a reggae style guitar groove and “Two kinds of Happiness,” which would not be out of place on a Duran Duran album. The band, despite their skill as pop song writers, also remembers that they were leaders of the garage rock movement, and thankfully, don’t forget how to rock. Tracks such as “Taken for a Fool” and album highlight “Under Cover of Darkness” should satisfy fans of that particular style.
|Julian Casablancas performing at Lollapalooza 2010|
2011 is already shaping up to be a good year musically, with quality releases from Radiohead, Cut Copy, Les Jupes, & The Decemberists. Now you can add The Strokes to that list. Angles is a cohesive album that not only plays to the strengths of the Strokes, but adds some new influences that allow them to grow their sound. I’d rank it second to Is This It, and if they decide to come to my area of the world, I’ll be first in line for a ticket.