Producers: Joe Chicarelli; Gus Oberg; the Strokes
The Strokes fourth studio release, Angles, is their first album since 2006’s First Impressions of Earth. Recorded over two years, and in a less than favorable atmosphere that would break up most bands, the Strokes manage to create a sturdy, thirty-five minute pop opus.
Rhythmically tuneful, and possessing more hooks than a bait and tackle shop, the Strokes visit topic after topic in their traditional, multi-guitar layered form. A pleasant and rewarding experience that makes the five year wait worth it.
“Machu Picchu” opens the album up with guns drawn and guitars blaring. “Under Cover of Darkness,” the album’s first single release, struts out guitar line dissonances underneath Julian Casablancas’ long, searing megaphone-distorted screams. After the gargantuan techno-pop, waste-of-time “You’re So Right,” the band quickly returns to signature chord left-turns contained in the oddly buoyant, “Taken For A Fool.” “Games” is a bit too Hall-and-Oates-had-a-baby-with-the-Cure for me, but “Call Me Back” creates a nice little guitar bossa nova underneath some remarkably gentle, vocal yearnings. The only thing missing from the 60’s favored “Gratisfaction” is a full horn section. The album finishes up with the moving, “Life is Simple in the Moonlight.”
The only disappointing aspect would be in the production of the electro-drum programming, giving the impression that The Stokes listened to a little too much Kraftwerk over their five-year hiatus. I miss the thrashy, brashy, bashy tribal rhythms so pronounced on their former works.
If you can resist the temptation to consider what the band may have accomplished, minus a band member’s stint in rehab, his break up with a model girlfriend, firing the album’s first producer, and a self-exiled singer phoning (or rather, emailing) it in, the Strokes’ fractured Angles is, overall, satisfying experience for the listener.