Angling for a comeback and not succeeding.
The Strokes are back. After a five year hiatus, during which members dabbled in mediocre solo projects and saw their image morph from the heralded saviors of rock to self–indulgent sell–outs, the band makes a play for redemption with Angles, their fourth album.
At times, Angles is a return to The Strokes’ early glory days, showcasing their talent for driven, riff–laden garage rock. “Under Cover of Darkness,” the album’s first single, finds Julian Casablancas crooning over heavy power chords in an almost perfect imitation of Is This It?’s iconic “Last Nite.”
Elsewhere, the Strokes channel a variety of influences, coming dangerously close to losing themselves behind a screen of mimicry. “Machu Picchu” sounds like a Phoenix B–side. The band pays homage to The Cars on nearly every track, with Casablancas coming off as a sultrier Ric Ocasek. “Gratisfaction,” inane title aside (lyrics have never been the Strokes’ strong suit), is essentially a repackaged Thin Lizzy song.
Angles is an improvement over 2006’s First Impressions of Earth, but it’s too inconsistent to be great. Musically, this is uneven terrain and the lack of unity can be jarring from one cut to the next. The songs aren’t interesting enough to sustain three minutes of attention; they’d be better if they were shorter.
On “Taken For a Fool,” Casablancas sings, “We’re so lucky ’cause we never grow up.” But if Angles is an attempt to recapture the fundamental magnetism that made the Strokes famous, it’s a haphazard — and mostly ineffective — one.
Sounds Like: The less–talented love child of Phoenix and The Cars.
99–Cent Download: “Machu Picchu”
Good For: Making you forget why you liked The Strokes in the first place.