The Strokes – ‘Angles.’ (Rough Trade)
When The Strokes appeared in 2001, they seemed like a breath of fresh air. In the post-Britpop doldrums, indie had largely gone back underground, and we needed a band we could fall in love with again. The Strokes not only looked cool (which, less face it, we were never going to say about Travis or the Stereophonics, were we?) but they sounded coo as well. They kickstarted a new wave of interest in bands, and before you knew it, America had given us the White Stripes (a couple of albums old, but only on import in the UK) and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, too. The band’s debut Is This It? might not have been the best album of that year, but boy, did it signify a seachange.
As a result of that debut album, the second and third albums got a lot of coverage too, and even the frankly awful solo projects that came along as well. This album has not been five years in the making, but it has been five years since First Impressions Of Earth. Stories have circulated about difficult recording sessions, whispers that all was not well. As indie is (supposedly) in the doldrums once more, how do the Strokes measure up ten years after their debut?
The first three tracks on the album, ‘Machu Icchu’ ‘Under Cover Of Darkness’ and ‘Two Kinds Of Happiness’ are all great, and join the canyon of wonderful Strokes songs. Unfortunately, from here on in, it’s the Strokes by numbers. Of course, the Strokes by numbers is better thah many other bands by numbers, but it’s still a little frustrating. ‘Metabolism’ sees them threatening to go metal, which they’ve threatened to do in the past and – with the exception of ‘Heart In A Cage’ _ wiah they would not do.
In essence, then, it’s a solid enough album, and certainly better than the solo projects that the band members fositered upon us in the interim. The problem remains that because they hit such a high with the first album, ultimately this is something of an anticlimax.
Angles is out now on Rough Trade.