The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


Strokes are disjointed after long separation

After a five-year break, The Strokes are back with their newest album “Angles.” With a title like that, one might think that the band aimed for new sounds, and it did, just not good ones. Fans were eager for The Strokes to recapture that lightening bolt magic of their 2001 debut, “Is This It,” and the crazily addicting beats that exploded on every track on the 2005 album, “Room on Fire.”

During the band’s hiatus, leader singer Julian Casablancas married the band’s former assistant manager, Juliet Joslin, had a child named Cal and released his first solo album, “11th Dimension.” This album was full of Casablanca flavor, which really showed how he dictated of The Strokes sound. Hence, the band’s split.

Like divvying up an allowance, each band member had equal input on “Angles,” and it is clear who took advantage of their ration and who didn’t.

With a 1980s synth-rock beat and a soft hint of pop and Talking Heads funk, “Machu Piccu” kicks off the album, leaving hope for the rest of the album ringing in your ears. The slight reggae hints in the vocals and blends well into the raw, catchy chorus suggestive of their hit song “1251,” from “Room on Fire.”

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The album’s lead single “Under the Cover of Darkness” is an instant hit, with Albert Hammond Jr. and Nick Valensi swapping magnetic guitar riffs, while Casablancas sets his modulated vocals on fire. “Under Cover of Darkness” is a milder version of wildly energetic “Last Nite” or “Is This It” off theirfirst album.

So far so good. Until the third track, “Two Kinds of Happiness” starts playing. Casablancas vocals are masked beneath waning, repetitive moans and drum beats.

After a battle between bass and guitar, Casablancas breaks into Billy Idol mode and really ruins it.

This song is comparable to “Turning Japanese” by The Vapors. Nothing further.

Skip to “Gratisfication,” the eighth song on the 10-track album, and its final saving grace.

Reminiscent of the band’s original sound, “Gratisfication” is classically cool and laidback, and the synergy of the band is pleasantly apparent.

Songs like “Gratisfication” and “Under Cover Of Darkness” represent that crux Strokes sound from “Is This It” and “Room on Fire,” the so-cool-without-even-trying kind of sound.

The rest of “Angles” is simply disorganized. “Call Me Back” and “You’re So Right” are prime examples of the spread of musical anomalies.

“You’re So Right” could be described as the musical equivalent of a Pablo Picasso painting, if Pablo Picasso wasn’t cool.

Or a ransom note made from various sized magazine letters.

Or a bowl of mixed Brazil and coconuts.

Speaking of Brazil, the rousing last track “Life is Simple in the Moonlight” polishes off the scattered album.

Written by Casablancas, and clearly influenced by all band members, the verses have a slow Brazilian feel to them — definitely on drummer Fabrizio Moretti’s insistence.

The anthem chorus could be the band’s cheers to each other for producing an album together after being split for so long.

As Casablancas claims in the final line, “Don’t try to stop us / Get out of the way!”

The album is like a grab bag; we took our chances, held our breath for something great, but found nothing but cheap tricks and toys.  


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