Review: Angles — The Strokes

More than 20 years after their first album, Room on Fire, stakes were high for the Strokes’ latest release: Angles.

I personally didn’t know what to expect. I am a fan of the Strokes, but also tend to think that the band peaked pretty early on with songs like “12:51” and “Reptilia.”

I was pleasantly surprised with the release of the single from Angles, “Under Cover of Darkness.”

The song kept the band’s catchy and quirky sound from previous albums, with some fresh new guitar riffs.

The lyrics weren’t half bad — definitely good enough to have me playing the single on repeat for a few days.

So of course, when my go-to music friend told me that the band was streaming Angles on its website, I jumped at my chance to hear what the Strokes had come up with for its latest work.

The first thing I noticed was that I had absolutely no idea what lead singer Julian Casablancas was saying about 83.7 percent of the time.

I looked up lyrics online for songs such as “Two Kinds of Happiness,” and found a few words separated with question marks and ellipsis points.

Clearly, I am not the only clueless one.

His voice significantly damages the quality of the album. Casablancas’ unique sound seems to have morphed into a scratchy mumbling that makes the lyrics extremely difficult to understand.

Aside from the vocals, I was pretty disappointed with the album. Though it has its highlights such as the first track, “Machu Picchu,” and, of course, “Under Cover of Darkness,” it also has songs that honestly made me want to tear my hair out.

The song “You’re So Right,” is completely monotonous and sounds a little bit like aliens trying to communicate with earthlings.

At some point, it no longer becomes interesting to listen to so many random sounds put together in a techno jumble.

The most interesting track on the album (for better or for worse) has to be “Call Me Back.” The first time I heard it, I fell in love with the moody instrumental that opens the song.

To top it off, Casablancas actually sings real English words for a change. I was happy with a different sort of sound than the other tracks on the album.

Up until about 1:15.

At this point, the song is completely ruined with a sudden change in melody.

Yet, “Call Me Back” seems to sum up the whole album.

Just when listeners think everything is going decently, the band tries way too hard to be “new” and “original” and ends up sounding confused and muddled.

Overall, Angles has a few tracks that would be worth a listen but just doesn’t compare to the Strokes’ earlier albums.