Album: The Strokes, Angles (Rough Trade)

3.00

On 2006's First Impressions of Earth, The Strokes' customary surface industry masked an enervation, which left one in little doubt that the band was slowly slipping apart. Julian Casablancas was refreshingly blunt about the situation, admitting in one song, "We could drag it out, but that's for other bands to do".

Four years have since passed, and with them a series of blink-and-you'll-miss-it solo albums that added little to the band members' reputations. Meanwhile, the Kings of Leon – once derisively characterised as "the Southern Strokes" – have found a massive mainstream audience for new-wave boogie-rock. Small wonder, then, that The Strokes should re-convene for another attempt to recapture the spirit of their earliest recordings. Comeback albums, it seems, are not just for other bands to do.

Not that matters seem to have changed all that much in the interim. "Under Cover of Darkness" finds Casablancas still frustrated with the lack of change, and determined to alter course. "Everybody's singing the same song for 10 years," he protests, but the spindly guitars and jittery Big Apple boogie stylings bring the complaint a little too close to home. Then again, things don't go too well when the band drift away from their core style. It's a relief when the limp white-reggae groove of "Machu Picchu" unravels into raggedy rock for the choruses, while the stilted electropop synth hook of "Games" seems horribly misjudged.

The throbbing momentum of "You're So Right" is better, with scurrying hi-hat and plangent arpeggios carrying Casablancas's numbed monotone as he broods ambivalently over a troublesome relationship: "I don't want to argue, I don't want to hurt you – well, maybe I'd hurt you, if I could". And there's a visceral charm to the layered guitar parts of "Two Kinds of Happiness", with counterpoint riffs tumbling over each other eagerly, pell-mell to nowhere in particular. That song, with its analysis of happiness as comprising "what you take and what you bring", offers a rare respite from the general tone of abrasive dissatisfaction and creeping alienation that still pervades the band's lyrics: there are far more rejections and criticisms here than endearments, which leaves the album closer to the mood of its predecessor than might be welcome.

Perhaps the most positive track on the album arrives late, in the form of "Metabolism", a chugging rocker with stalking, prog-rock guitar figures and a wheedling, grandiosely introspective vocal in the manner of Thom Yorke or, more accurately, Matt Bellamy, which hints at a possible shift sideways into the kind of stadium-prog-metal so profitably mined by Muse. Perhaps not the most expected of routes to take, but surely a better course of action than to keep churning out lolloping Strokes-by-numbers stuff like "Gratisfaction" and "Taken for a Fool"?

DOWNLOAD THIS Metabolism; You're So Right; Two Kinds of Happiness; Under Cover of Darkness

Arts and Entertainment

Will Poulter will play the shape-shifting monsterfilm
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Hollywood

'Whether he left is almost immaterial'TV
Arts and Entertainment

game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers

Arts and Entertainment
The original Star Wars trio of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill

George Osborne confirms Star Wars 8 will film at Pinewood Studios in time for 4 May

film

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before