Culture

The Strokes strike again

Courtesy rockitoutblog.com

In the five years since The Strokes released their last album, a lot has changed in the world. The

Democrats won and lost control of Congress; the first biracial (and socialist, and fascist, and communist,

and Kenyan-born and Muslim) president was elected; and the last “Harry Potter” book was released; the

world wept. The last “Twilight” novel was released; preteens wept. Dictatorships fell. Natural disasters

ravaged what seems like half of the world. Print newspapers disappeared and the New York Times, once

again, decided to implement an asinine pay-wall (actually spending money for a commodity such as

journalism is absurd and un-American). One would think, with all of these world-changing events and a

seemingly interminable hiatus, that the Strokes would at least have come up with some truly compelling

music in the last five years. However, that person would be absolutely mistaken.

It isn’t that “Angles,” the latest album by the Strokes, is bad. It just is not particularly memorable by

any means. Lead singer Julian Casablancas went off the sow his wild oats as a solo artist, and the result

was “Phrazes for the Young,” which, honestly, seemed pretty indistinguishable from his recordings with

the band intact. “First Impressions of Earth,” the last Strokes album before the five-year hiatus, may not

have been as acclaimed as the band’s earlier albums, but it still featured outstanding songs such as “Ask

Me Anything” and my personal favorite Strokes song, “Ize of the World.”

Nothing on “Angles” really stands apart from the rest of the album. The pervasive melody of “Games” is

the most instantly striking of the new tracks, but even that song comes nowhere close to being as iconic

as “What Ever Happened” or “Last Nite” (though new single “Under Cover of Darkness” sounds oddly

like the latter). Nearly every track seems heavily influenced by the earlier albums, but there’s nothing

seems particularly fresh. Even the unbridled ambition of the widely derided “First Impressions of Earth”

seems preferable to the sing-by-numbers aura of “Angles.”

While I may kvetch about the five-year hiatus, I only nag because I love. No one should think that I

find this album to be truly disappointing, but nothing truly stands out, and with a gestation period that

gives Guns N’ Roses’ “Chinese Democracy” a run for its money, perhaps I expected more. I must add,

however, that I’ll eat my words if the Strokes schedule a stop in Miami on their rumored upcoming tour.

Throw your fans a bone, guys. While Vampire Weekend may have tried to usurp the Strokes’ role as

the golden boys of neo-garage rock, the Strokes are still the undisputed champions of the genre even if

they aren’t at their best. Hopefully fans won’t have to wait another five years for some groundbreaking

music.

Rating: 3/4 stars

Released: March 18, 2011

Label: RCA, Rough Trade

Producers: Gus Oberg, Joe Chicarelli, The Strokes

April 6, 2011

Reporters

Sarah B. Pilchick

Senior EDGE Writer


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