Thursday, 24 March 2011
REVIEW: THE STROKES: ANGELS
Another stroke of genius from New York's finest.
It's been a long five years of waiting since this bands 'Last Impressions Of Earth', but it still only seems like yesterday when this alternative band burst onto the scenes a decade ago, changing the Rock & Roll sound scape and even the throwback fashion along with The Hives and a pair of White Stripes. This is it. 10 years since 'Is This It', can you believe it? Still, now one year into the second decade of a new musical millennium the band helped define, the group are back with their forth album, 'Angels'. Following a self-dubbed hibernation, the band have come out from the darkness into Spring giving us some great sounds for the upcoming seasons.
This signature, 10-track, half hour or so set comes into the light with the lead single 'Under The Cover Of Darkness'. An upbeat number which keeps in time of the bands greatest hits like 'Last Night'. From nice guitar-work to effortless, but easy on the ear singing this was always bound to be a surefire hit before it even broke the billboard. First up on this disc however is 'Machu Picchu', a track that is a throwback testament just like the albums artwork and general theme for this release. It's the sort of record that if dropped in the 80's would be peoples impression of music before it's time, and although this back to the future gem would sound dated if released a few years back, great Scott it sounds so good now.
On 'Two Kinds Of Happiness' the band keep the good times rolling and their hallmark sound traditional but fresh. The old if it's broke don't fix it saying applies here as this rock and roll homage band now bring the sounds of past generations into their era of dominance. On 'Your So Right' the band display a mix of their old style with their new experimental standard for a potent mixture that bubbles out the speakers. Then on the genius 'Taken For A Fool', The Strokes paint us the perfect number for this upcoming brighter weather. This song feels like one of those ones that's about to become the soundtrack for the memories your about to make this Summer.
Then the New Yorkers shift gear and show they can step it up from their cool, laid-back sound with the epic and tone shifting, 'Games'. This is not only one of the best tracks on this long player but also amongst one of the best instrumental songs that have tracked this bands career. The same could be said in return for the great lyrical and poignant track 'Call Me Back'. Over slow, soothing guitar, Julian Casablancas laments "wait time is to blame/ I thought fame was a trip/we all have the time/someone is always feared" with lyrics lapping up the nicest of nostalgic memories.
If that doesn't gratify and satisfy you then the last tracks on the album would. The song 'Gratisfaction' is perfect, from the grammar of the lyrics to the P's and Q's of traditional rock. Now if that doesn't give you your fill, then 'Metabolism' certainly will sustain your appetite. Then this piece comes to a close with the beautiful, 'Life Is Simple in the Moonlight'. A tranquil track that brings this simple, slow, sublime set to a lulling, calm close. The perfect end to an album that is classic Strokes.
Sure 'Angels' may not be the best album from The Strokes but it sure is a spirited return for a band that years ago looked like they where headed for the same fate as the White Stripes. What's black and white and plain to see now is that this band is back and with other great acts calling it a day, it's great to see one return this week after all those years. The applause at the end of this albums last track is genuine. It's good to have these guys back. Now let's hear it for The Strokes. TIM DAVID HARVEY.