Ten years since the rough and ready garage rock of 'Is This It' brought The Strokes to mainstream attention, the New York band return with an album that showcases a more contemplative side to their crisp guitar sound, but still spends too long rehashing the same old ideas.
A five years hiatus since their last album 'First Impressions of Earth' and Julian Casablancas' creak of a voice and Albert Hammond Jr's sometimes sharp, sometimes crunchy guitar are still the driving force behind The Strokes. They're a band who can play to their strengths, and make it work, up to a point. Lead single 'Under Cover of Darkness' boasts the same sort of chipper pop beat and catchy as hell chorus that launched them into superstardom, while 'Metabolism' thrusts its sourness in your face with the help of an incensed guitar hook.
And yet, The Strokes suffer from the same problem that they always have. Individually their songs can be thoroughly energising, but they tend to follow the same format. And so, among a collection of ten they begin to sound samey, making it difficult to listen to the entire album at once without it quickly becoming tedious. Things aren't helped, either, by the repetitive nature of 'Two Kinds of Happiness' or the almost entirely tuneless 'Taken For A Fool'.
Thankfully, 'Angles' takes enough time away from that classic Strokes sound to reveal a more thoughtful side, with 'Call Me Back' twinkling lightly before unleashing its eerie harmonies. While the band themselves claimed that 'Angles' would be a return to their earlier sound, there is certainly a marked progression here, with more precision and introspection than ever before in their career. It's just a shame they don't take advantage of that more.