Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Album review: THE STROKES - Angles

Highlights: Under Cover Of Darkness, Taken For A Fool, Gratisfaction, Life Is Simple In The Moonlight

In the days of giant egos and mindless narcissism it’s not often that you hear an artist/band renounce its own work. The Strokes’ case is particularly odd: Casablancas and Co unanimously rejected Angles already prior to the album’s release date. As an unabashedly lame excuse they blamed it all on the recording process. The band, it transpired, couldn’t even gather together in the studio, and so the vocals and the instruments had to be recorded separately. So much for the inspiring unity of the gang they allegedly brought back from the ashes in 2001…

You certainly hear where that dissatisfaction comes from. Strictly speaking, Angles is not even an album of songs – it’s a collection of good, interesting ideas patched together. Take “Taken For A Fool”, for instance. Its verse melody has very little, if anything, to do with that brilliant pulsating chorus that might well be the album’s most cathartic moment. But this example only goes to show that in spite of the general lack of cohesiveness the album’s best moments (largely Julian’s vocal melodies) manage to salvage a lot.

Basically, Angles is the Strokes’ trademark sound (with slightly more ambitious guitar solos) filtered through the lush electro-pop vibe  of Casablancas’ Phrazes For The Young (2009). All quite inventive, really, and the ideas are good. Was it worth the wait? Hard to say, but it’s interesting to have them back. Particularly now that they will have to better it – difficult though it may seem with those three other unnecessary, bothersome characters dangling nearby in the studio and trying to prove that they also know a thing or two about music. 


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