The Strokes return with playful 'Angles'

“Angles” The Strokes 3/5 Pitchforks

The Strokes are at it again — finally. The band’s latest full-length release “Angles” broke this weekend after almost five years of a saddening hiatus. Welcome, rockers, we’re glad you’re back.

Having been away from the recording studio for so long, change is to be expected. Vocal distortions are no longer apparent as they were in every preceding album. But with Julian Casablancas’ undeniable roars, the first track of Jamaican steel drum beats still successfully urges you to dance yourself out of the seat: something to always love about these boys.

All I want to do is tap my toes as the album plays another track, and another, bringing “Undercover of Darkness” to the scene. The single, released a month ago, is by far the catchiest. Is that because it was the first to be heard? Not quite sure, but I’m sad to say no other song beats this one as the album continues. The opening chords bleed the past of The Strokes. Dragging pleas of Casablancas will remind of you of “Reptilia” and “Someday.” While the rest of the album does the guys justice, no sense of their past records will swell over you like this bad boy right here.

Enter the underwhelming spat: “Two Kinds of Happiness” and “You’re So Right,” two songs in a row that could have been left from the album for all I care. While one reeks of U2, the other is so monotone and dark that I ask, “Hello, boys, did we lose you?” Rumor has it that “You’re So Right” will be the next to premiere on alternative radio stations around the Strokes-loving world. Can’t say I look forward to it.

Thankfully, the album does pick up for a happy ending. “Call Me Back” is so subtle, with fantastic opening chords to sway to – like a timid greeting back to the good music that The Strokes put together. The opening reminds me of Radiohead’s “Talk Show Host” as the guys pick up the beat occasionally, making sure that this quality lullaby doesn’t actually put anyone to sleep.

The album begins its close with one particular gem: “Gratisfaction.” Our lead vocalist playfully spits quick verses as his gang backs him up for the all-together-now choruses. This song, this song is gold.

No album’s perfect and there has never been a Strokes album that didn’t have at least two songs to completely throw fans off. Let’s chop the mid-album crisis up to an experimental phase and check out the album in its entirety, eh? You can dance your black skinnies off as I’m sure Casablancas must have making this album.

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