Album Review: The Strokes – ‘Angles’
As the fourth studio album to be released by American indie band, it is the first since their previous release ‘First Impressions of Earth’ in 2006. Being the longest wait fans have had in between albums, it was totally worth the wait. No doubt it is more of an experimental album in terms of instruments, but it’s a positive cacophony of various beats and synthesisers which combine to make one great mixed up album. There are more overdubbed guitars and lead vocalist Julian Casablancas can be heard experimenting with various vocal layers which adds more of a depth and makes for a more dynamic sound. In relation to the new album, Casablancas believes:
“it’s the album which should have been made between ‘Room on Fire’ and ‘First Impressions of Earth'”
and I completely agree. The band have not necessarily developed a new, refined sound, they’ve stuck to their roots and followed the style of their 2001 release, ‘Is This It’. When you first listen to the album, you’ll be taken aback by the interesting guitar melodies and Farfisa keyboards broken up by a few sombre, melancholy songs such as ‘Life is Simple in the Moonlight’ and ‘Call Me Back’.
The album cover as well as the album art suggests a element of perplexity. Personally, I think this concept is a little pretentious. I got the feeling it’s a little attention seeking, almost as if they were trying to say “hey, look at us, we’re weird and cool. Like us please!”. While the theme itself is coming across quite odd and disjointed, the music in the album is quite the opposite. The structure of the songs is quite basic and has your basic rock elements which I found was quite contradictory to the album art and theme.
While I believe this album to be a great collaboration of experimenting with instruments while keeping it simple, I do have one little niggling criticism. Now if you don’t know already, I cannot stand vocalists who don’t pronounce words properly! I know it sounds stupid, and some would say this is the attraction to indie music in the first place, but if I can’t hear the words of a song, I can’t enjoy it as much and it just ruins most of the experience for me. Casablancas isn’t too bad, however, on a few songs such as ‘Games’, I find the words just impossible to understand in parts. Yet, in other sections, I can hear the lyrics completely.
So, for the reasons provided, I’ve decided to rate ‘Angles’ a mid/high 4/5 stars! I love the whole sound of the album, but I do wish it didn’t contradict with the album theme and I wish Casablancas would develop a new style of delivery, as I’m not too fond of his current one. However, if you’re new to The Strokes, you should definitely listen to ‘Under Cover of Darkness‘, their first single from the album.
Music Bloggery Recommends: ‘Macchu Picchu’, ‘Under Cover of Darkness’, ‘Two Kinds of Happiness’, ‘Taken For a Fool’, ‘Gratisfaction’ and ‘Life is Simple in the Moonlight’