The Strokes are at it again with their new album, Angles

Ben Lippert

By Jonathan Willett

Music Columnist

Not to begin so cliché, but there’s the old saying in the south where I grew up, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  The Strokes burst onto the music scene almost ten years ago with their earth-shattering debut, Is This It?.  Changing music for so many of us suffering a Limp Bizkit late 90’s hangover, The Strokes, along with The White Stripes, Hives, and Vines helped bring back garage rock and the three minute song into modern rock.  Like their previous three albums, Angles refuses to reinvent the wheel, relying on fast, hook-filled guitar riffs, the drone of Julian Casablancas, and the deceptively quick rhythms.

Starting with vaguely familiar sounding “Machu Picchu,” The Strokes welcome you to their fourth album with peppy guitars over Casablancas’s insistent crooning.  The song is upbeat, filled with distortion, and sounds very much like their second album, Room on Fire.

The single from Angles is “Under Cover of Darkness, ” and beginning with the playful guitar-work of Albert Hammond Jr. and Nick Valensi, teasing the listener to keep listening to the upbeat guitars.   The lyrics and vocals are infectious to the point where one finds themselves attempting to sing along with Casablancas on the first listen.  Fab Moretti’s drumming is impeccable as always, and the beat induces air drumming at an embarrassing rate.

One final song I found particularly interesting was the song “Games” in which a 80’s New Wave electro intro gives way to a very pronounced baseline with Julian pleading over it intensely.  In some ways, it is reminiscent of David Bowie during various stages during the middle stage of his career.  It sounds very much like a Strokes song with the vocals, but without them, it could easily pass for a new Neon Indian or Cut Copy single.

While it doesn’t seem that The Strokes require much room for growth due to the various members’ side projects, much like The Rolling Stones always have been, they still tease us with the elements they’ve added to their repertoire without losing what made us fall in love with them so long ago.