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Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Strokes, the "Angles" of disappointment

Angles- The Strokes

There were some warnings in advance. The ugly cover, to start with. And some revealing comments on the article by Jonathan Garret on Pitchfork:

"I won't do the next album we make like this. No way. It was awful...just awful".
"We're all learning to work on each other's songs and learning how to deal with emotional issues in relation to the songs..  I feel we have a better album in us, and it's going to come out soon". Guitarrist Nick Valensi.

"I mean...yes....It's a tough question because I think the whole point was that I was going to let things go so there's a bunch of stuff on the record I wouldn't have done". Singer Julian Casablancas, asked if he likes the finished album.

So what are we going to find in "Angles"? In my opinion, a band trying striving to find themselves, but without knowing if they are still a band, resulting on a pastiche of styles trying too hard to fit together in the mix. Sadly, it clearly shows the lack of direction on the recording. The start is strong, though. "Machu Picchu" is addictive with its peculiar groove, and "Under Cover of Darkness" is a fine single, despite the irony of Casablancas singing "Everybody singing the same song for 10 years" when the tune qualifies as a polished auto homage of their first album.

"Two Kind of Happiness" and "You're so Right" are so-so tunes, but the guitar work saves them. And "Taken for a Fool" is the other highlight from "Angles". But if  this was just an EP ending here, it would have been a fine comeback for The Strokes. Because there's little to be saved from the second half of the album.

The subdued electropop of "Games" is remarkable only if we compare it with the following song, "Call Me Back", a serious contender for The Strokes worst song. "Gratisfaction" is catchy and happier, but come on, that would have been discarded and used as b-side years ago. And "Metabolism" is The Strokes doing Muse. Hell no. At least the album ends on a positive note with the pleasant "Life is Simple in The Moonlight", but that's not enough to avoid the feeling of huge disappointment from the expectations created after so many years of hiatus.

 SCORE: 4/10

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