Album Review: “Angles” starts off strong but could be better

Ricky Soltero

“I’m putting your patience to the test,” sings Julian Casablancas in the first line to the first track “Machu Picchu” from The Strokes’ highly anticipated fourth album, “Angles.”

Fans were truly put to that test when The Strokes vanished for five years after the release of their third record, “First Impressions of Earth.”

For the music industry, five years seems like an eternity. Trends change, music evolves, and, more importantly, your audience grows up.
Expectations were high for the new album but no band can live on hype alone.

Yes, The Strokes have released two ridiculously amazing records with their debut album, “Is this it,” and their sophomore outing, “Room on Fire,” but nobody knew what to expect with “Angles.”

“Under cover of darkness,” the lead single from “Angles” silenced many of the doubting Thomases, but what about the rest of the record?

Well, it’s actually a great record!

“Angles” finds the band looking to expand their sound to different directions. The first track on the record, “Machu Picchu,” has the band in playful form with what almost sounds like an ode to Orange Juice or even The Police.

What ever influenced this track is beside the point, it is quite the surprise after what “Under Cover of Darkness” had announced prior to this release.

Right of the bat, the one-two punch of “Machu Picchu” and “Undercover of Darkness” gives the record a great start but the true highlight comes with the third track, “Two Kinds of Happiness.” With a sound that recalls that of their third album, “Two Kinds” delivers what many tracks on “First Impressions” failed to do. With a nice soaring chorus that sounds, may I dare to say, like a U2 record.

Another highlight comes with “Taken for a Fool,” which comes and goes, with ups and downs, and then somehow manages to deliver a chorus a la The Buggles. It’s a catchy track in which Casablancas delivers his most honest lyric to date. “I hope this goes over well, on the toxic radio. Yeah.”

There is one oddity on the record, the almost bossanova track “Call me back.” It’s a nice track, quite different from all of the bands’ output and it surprisingly works. Tracks like these, even if they sound odd, actually give the band room to stretch in the future, making it more than a one-dimensional rock ‘n’ roll outfit.

Yet, even with a great front side, “Angles,” falls a little flat towards the end, with songs like “Gratisfaction” and “Metabolism” sounding a little forced and even a bit over the top. The record comes to a pleasing end with “Life is simple in the moonlight” though, which pulls together nicely.

As a whole, “Angles” is a very solid record with great songs to please, but this falls in between their two great records and their shaky third. With that said, “Angles” is good, quite good but could be better.