Album Review: The Strokes ‘Angles’
It’s not the masterpiece we were all hoping for but it is still a solid album
Music Trajectory rating: 4/5
The Strokes 4th studio album Angles was released several months ago now but I felt I needed to take the time to listen to the album several times over before I could review it. Initially I only liked a few songs on the album. Now having listened to it a significant amount of times, I think the album is very solid. There are still a couple songs I can’t get into but that is usually how it is for me with The Strokes, especially the last couple of albums.
Speaking of the last couple of albums, 2006’s First Impressions of Earth and 2003’s Room On Fire, both were very good but in my opinion Angles is the overall better album. Not necessarily an overall better collection of songs but Angles is better because it sounds more like an album from start to finish. The Strokes also expand their song writing and sound, which is respectable. The band experimented with various production techniques including MIDI electronic samples and Farfisa keyboards. They also overdubbed more guitars and lead single Julian Casablancas toyed with vocal layers. The album is definitely a “return to form” if you are a fan of the infamous first album Is This It and wanted The Strokes to return to that kind of sound. At the same time though, Angles is very different than anything the Strokes have ever done. Perhaps Barry Nicolson in his nme.com review said it best: “Angles lives up to its name by coming at you from some very obtuse places indeed.”
Standout tracks include album opener “Machu Picchu” which showcases a unique sounding verse riff that is very different than anything The Strokes have ever done. The song also has one of the catchier choruses on the album and some of the best lyrics on the album. First single “Under Cover of Darkness” is an instant hit and reminiscent of material off the debut album, 2001’s Is This It. 2nd single “Taken for a Fool” is my personal favorite track on the album, with an insanely catchy single-along chorus and outstanding guitar work. “Taken for a Fool” was chosen as a the Song of the Week for week of July 7, 2011 right here on my music blog. The last standout track I’d like to mention is “Games”. This song grew on me the most and I consider it my 2nd favorite song behind “Taken for a Fool”. The repeating chorus line “Living in an empty world” is so well done, you just have to listen for yourself.
In sum, if you are a fan of any prior release from The Strokes or the Julian Casablancas solo album Phrazes for the Young you will probably dig Angles. Most fans and critics do according to metacritic.com.