worth the wait?

i’ve been waiting five years to write these words…and now that the time is here, i’m a bit depressed.  angles is the forth studio album by the strokes and the first since 2006’s slightly erratic first impressions of the earth.  after hearing the record from front to back two or three times and now that my anticipatory joy has worn off, i have to admit…i’m confused.

apparently, this record was a pain in the ass to make.  the band wrote most of the music, lead singer julian casablancas stepping in only to sing and tweak the final mixes.  that being said, angles is a perfect title for this oddball recording.  there is zero flow here.  the songs range from trademark strokes power pop to cars style new wave chargers.  there’s a police flavored reggae hint here and the occasional talking heads thinker there.  i can’t figure this out one bit.

any single track here could stand alone and speak for itself.  but when assembled as an album, there isn’t a way to make heads or tales of it.  rarely does angles sound like a band with a motive, and when it does, like on the near perfect “metabolism”, it’s short-lived.  sonically, the record twists like a band pulling in five different directions.  the first single, “undercover of darkness”, is a testament to this bands power, but those moments are few and far between.  “two kinds of happiness” sounds like the end credits of a john hughes film, while “gratisfaction” is a dead ringer for thin lizzy.  the record closes with “life is simple in the moonlight”, a gorgeous shape shifter that could have been a lost outtake from 06′.

if the rumors are true, the strokes put this record together in order to kick-start the hype machine and generate some modest record and ticket sales.  reports say the band aims to release another record before 2012 that returns them to the leaner, gritty “juice box” days.  i’m not holding my breath.  the strokes are a truly fantastic band and angles is hardly sub par by any means, but it begs to ask…after ten-plus years of being cooler than hell, is this it?

head over to www.thestrokes.com and stream the entire record.  you can’t deny “machu picchu”.  that one’s a monster…i think i hear a bongo in there…

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