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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’

 

6 thoughts on “Album Review: The Strokes – ‘Angles’”

  1. Kristi says:

    . . . Me gusta 🙂

    I agree with just about everything you said in this review.
    God, I love The Strokes so much!!
    I find it interesting that you pointed out how the album art seems to contradict the actual sound of the album. I always kinda thought so, too 😛
    However I like the story behind their naming the album 'Angles'. In the last three albums Julian was the one who created nearly all of their songs. This time, I believe while Julian was touring his solo album (which is amazing, and you NEED to hear it!!), the others went into the studio and made a lot of the songs. 'Angles' is pertaining to how the music came from different angles in the band rather than just one person like it always used to be.
    Anyway, have you listened to Is This It or Room on Fire? Seriously, those albums changed my life 🙂 As did First Impressions of Earth! But mostly Room on Fire!

  2. Music Bloggery. says:

    I'm so glad you agree with the review, I was afraid you were going to completely disagree! It's hard to please a number one fan, you know? (; && As much as the music does contradict the theme, I still love the album art, it is in itself really arty and quite interesting.
    I've only got 'Is This It', i've been meaning to get some of their other stuff too, so I will definately listen to Julian's solo album, along with more Strokes stuff! ;D

  3. Kristi says:

    OK, tell me when you hear Room on Fire! 🙂 A lot of people say that it's too similar to Is This It, but I definitely sense a different vibe from this album.
    And after reading this comment, go onto youtube and look up '11th Dimension' by Julian Casablancas. You might be taken aback for a minute by how different it sounds, but I think you'll quickly love it. SOOOO catchy! 😀

  4. Music Bloggery. says:

    I'll definately listen to 'Room on Fire' very soon and i'll tell you the minute i've finished listening to it. ;D
    && I watched the music video for '11th Dimension', I loved the techno-futuristic sound of the song, but I did feel like in the chorus, the music was overpowering the vocals and you couldn't hear Julian enough. D;
    In terms of the music video, I liked it, but I felt that it seemed a little pretentious and that it was trying too hard to be odd and quirky. That's just the impression that I got from it. (;
    But I did like the song, and i'll listen to it a few more times to get used to it, no doubt it is very catchy! ;D

  5. Kristi says:

    Haha, I wasn't even thinking about the music video. But I quite like it 😀
    I'm glad you like the song, though!
    Do you know The Lonely Island? They're like a comedy hip-hop/rap group. They did a song with Julian called 'Boombox'. The video is HILARIOUS. 🙂 So yeah . . . you can also check that out. I know you like Jon Lajoie so you might like them. They're similar artists on last.fm!! haha 😛

  6. Music Bloggery. says:

    I've heard of the Lonely Island and i've listened to 'Jizz In My Pants' and 'Like A Boss' before, but i've never really liked them that much.
    && I just watched the vid for 'Boombox', it's so funny. Hats off to Julian for doing something fun and crazy. ;D
    You should listen to a comedy band called The Midnight Beast. In my opinion, they're much better than The Lonely Island and they're Harry Potter nerds which makes them even better. They're British, so you'll fall in love with the accent, and their music is really catchy too. You should check out their new song 'Wands', it's making fun of Harry Potter, haha. (;

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