I may have been too dismissive when “Under Cover of Darkness”, the first single off of The Strokes’ Angles, debuted a little while back. I felt the song didn’t do anything for the band. It was Strokes-by-numbers, the same old, same old.
“Under Cover…” was actually The Strokes re-introducing themselves to us through trickery. “Hey everybody, we’re back! If you liked us before, you’ll still love us now!” One things for sure after listening to Angles is that this is definitely not The Strokes-by-numbers.
“Machu Picchu” has a vaguely reggae/The Police vibe with interplay between the bass line and guitars until the very Strokes-like chorus. “Under Cover…” follows and plays at the status quo which fades quickly when “Two Kinds of Happiness” kicks in.
Along with “You’re So Right”, these two songs are some of the most experimental songs The Strokes have ever written. “Two Kinds…” is such an homage to The Cars and ’80’s New Wave with a modern twist that only The Strokes could pull off while “You’re So Right” is another ’80’s throwback complete with drum machine beats that finds Julian Casablancas sticking to the low register vocally.
Elsewhere, lush keyboards permeate throughout “Games” while the rest of Angles serves up equal amounts Strokes standards (“Gratisfaction”) and Strokes surprises (“Metabolism”).
The song writing is top notch and in top form on Angles which makes this not only an exciting and different Strokes album but also exactly what they needed to do to stay relevant after a long hiatus.