Album: The Strokes, Angles (Rough Trade)

So many negative noises have been made about Angles from critics and the band (guitarist Nick Valensi admitted "I feel like we have a better album in us"), that its actually-not-badness comes as a pleasant surprise.

It doesn't help that it starts so appallingly. Opening track "Machu Picchu" sounds like the sort of thing the Strokes' successors Vampire Weekend might have left on the cutting-room floor. Thereon, they find their feet via the safe familiarity of lead single "Under Cover of Darkness". There are a couple of other misfires, but "Taken for a Fool" is a fine piece of work, "Two Kinds of Happiness" is an exercise in Cars-style power pop and "Gratisfaction" a Thin Lizzy-like romp.

Coming from a band who blatantly don't want to be a band any more, Angles is inevitably disjointed. But it's not disastrous.