Well it turns out The Strokes didn’t crash, burn, and break up permanently after all. After a five year wait they finally settled out their differences (maybe)* and got back together to record an album together (kinda)*. In the interim there has been four solo projects, multiple solo tours, and not a lot of communication between the five boys from New York City. And all of this tension shows through on their latest studio effort Angles (amazon) (itunes).
The story behind the new album name is that each member of the band approaches music from a different angle. And that becomes apparent as you listen through all of the tracks. Some of their best work, (Machu Picchu, Under Cover of Darkness, Taken For a Fool), sounds like a true collaboration and feels most like a natural evolution of the trademark sound from The Strokes. And then their are the “other” tracks. Songs like Gratisfaction (which sounds like a largely nonsensical tribute to Queen) or Games (which goes a long way to make sure we know the eighties are alive and well) begin to showcase how The Strokes are attempting to reconcile how they’ve all matured and diversified as individuals with the idea that they’re still in the same band. There is even a track, You’re So Right, that feels like it would fit alongside vocals by Thom Yorke.
In the end the album feels, sounds, and looks like The Strokes and it does a solid job of opening the door for future albums and future avenues of musical exploration. Granted this isn’t an answer to their debut album, Is This It, but to be fair we wouldn’t want them to be the same band they were in 2001.
* I used the terms (maybe) and (kinda) due to the fact that the band recorded all of their work separately in different studios. Yes it was a collaborative effort, but I’m not entirely sure the boys are still best friends.