They say your taste buds change every seven years. Mine may evolve a little slower. I think I’m finally ready to admit that I dig The Strokes. You see, in 2001 when The Strokes first hit the scene with “Last Night,” I was all about Dickies shorts and So-Cal pop punk–pretty much the antithesis of the New York band’s garage rock revival. So while I might have not been ready at the time, that spicy taste of dueling guitars, raspy vocals, and four on the floor drums that once was a turn off, now smells a lot more appetizing. Basically, the new album Angles is really good.
It’s hard to argue against a band that just writes good and interesting songs. “Machu Picchu” kicks off Angles with an eighties new-wave vibe that seamlessly transitions to the jazzy lead single “Under Cover of Darkness.” Hooks like a meat market, songs like “Taken For a Fool” (below) and “Two Kinds of Happiness” show The Strokes at their best–tight grooves that explode into something bigger with classic melodies that make you feel stupid for not writing them first.
Angles isn’t without it’s skipables: “Call Me Back” feels like lazy filler, and “You’re So Right” while darkly catchy, is too monotone, even for The Strokes.
The Strokes have spent the last ten years honing a sound that is all their own. Angles is all New York, a combination of attitude and arpeggios, that formula that hasn’t really changed since Is This It. More than the music, their trademarked unaffected attitude resonates more today than ever. They play their instruments well and that’s it. They’re a band. Not a marketing campaign or YouTube sensation or whatever else makes you famous these days.
So then the question becomes, have The Strokes really evolved into a better group or am I now at a place where I can appreciate a piece of work like Angles?