The Strokes/ Angles (RCA)
I always crack up at reviews like the one in the new Rolling Stone magazine, where they proclaim that this is their best album since Is This It. Whenever a band releases a commercial bomb, their next album is always touted as a 'return to form' and 'their best album since (whatever their most acclaimed work is)'. You will get no such nonsense from this review, kids. I'll give it to you straight.
Angles is no Is This It. Not even close. Hell, I'd even settle for it being the next Room On Fire, but it's not. This album is closer to 2006's First Impressions of Earth in intent, trying desperately to expand on their sound while making "artistic progress". At least things are more interesting this time around, sonically as well as musically. Lots of time changes and odd arrangements coupled with clean production give this album an early '80s New Wave sort of feel. It doesn't always work, but it does make for an interesting listen. The Strokes play tight, and the arrangements on these songs are equally tight. This is Rock that comes more from the head than the gut. Is This It leaned more towards the gut, and I am baffled as to why people are comparing the two albums. The only thing that they have in common is that they were made by the same band, with only a thread of sound that connects them.
That's not to say that there aren't some quality Rock tunes here. The first single Under Cover of Darkness tries hard to relive the "Garage Rock" boom of 2001, and does a decent job of evoking that era. Gratisfaction is the star of the set, in my opinion. Big riff, big chorus, it reaches for the brass ring and succeeds on all levels. This album is a decent addition to their catalog, although 5 years in between albums is a bit much. I would still like to see these guys bash out single takes recorded live with the entire band in one room. Some bands could use a spit shine, these guys could use some sandpaper.