Review: The Strokes release a highly anticipated single

Ricky Soltero

The Strokes released their much anticipated new single, “Under Cover of Darkness”, from their yet to be released fourth album, “Angles”, via the band’s website and made available as a free download for 48 hours.

Inarguably, The Strokes have released two of the best records of the last decade. With “Is this It” and “Room on Fire”, The Strokes were catapulted into the indie stratosphere and led the way in the era’s then booming garage rock revival, with the likes of The Vines and the now defunct White Stripes.

Then came the faulty and stutter step of their third album, “First Impressions of Earth”, and The Strokes simply disappeared, leaving us pray to the likes of Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber. So with good reason, the ridiculous amount of hype surrounding “Under Cover of Darkness” is justified.

At first glance, the track just seems a return to the classic Strokes sounds. The bouncy and catchy straightforward rock of their debut album, Julian Casablancas’ usual crackling vocals and the jagged guitars, it’s all here but the difference is in the execution.

This is not the same twenty-something-year-old band of “Is this it”, this is a seasoned, well-oiled rock ‘n’ roll machine. The band is in top form, the guitars sound raunchier than ever with the same energy that made them so spectacular in their heyday.

The rhythm section cruises through, avoiding the pitfall of overdoing and just keeping it simple while Julian Casablancas’ usual croon is replaced here with a Lou Reed style bravado straight out of Reed’s album “Transformer”.

Instead of sounding tired and insecure, the band sounds fresh and lively, putting the bits and pieces of their sound together into a brand new puzzle.

By any other band’s standards, this would be a high caliber release, but by The Strokes’ standards, this will be considered a fine effort. Truth be told, this is an amazing release and even if this is not the anthem most fans and critics were expecting, I could not have envisioned anything more exciting than “Under Cover of Darkness”.

As Casablancas’ belts out “I’ve been all around this town/Everybody singing the same song for 10 years,” and leading in to the insanely catchy chorus “I’ll wait for you/Will you wait for me too?” One can only recall the excitement of the release of “Is this it” in 2001 and how ten years later, we craved for something that has been long gone.

By all means, we have waited for them patiently and have been rewarded with the glorious “Under Cover of Darkness”. Now if only “Angles”, which is due out on March 22, can live up to its lead single, the rock ‘n’ roll astral plane will return balance to the world at least for the duration of the upcoming “Angles”.

4 out of 5 stars