The Strokes Album “Angles” Marks New Direction for Band
by Emmett Lindner
Get ready for The Strokes new album, “Angles,” released March 22nd. The title marks a slightly new direction for the band, as they take on new approaches and different “angles” to their practiced indie sound. The lyrics are still catchy, the guitar still rings feedback, and lead singer Julian Casablancas still has girl problems – only this time they tend to stray from what we’ve all been used to hearing. After Casablancas cries, “I hear your voice in the ground” in “Call Me Back,” the rhythm breaks into short, eerie strums on the guitar that sounds more like Panic at the Disco! than anything from the Stroke’s earlier albums. As you listen, you feel as though you’re inside Casablancas’ mind, which seems full of painful and whirling thoughts that flood his conscious. Soon it breaks into the usual Strokes sound, – many times heartfelt and energetic – but this departure from their usual noise is repeated throughout the album; these diversions, however, are unfamiliar to a Strokes fan.
“Gratisfaction” has a distinct resemblance to Billy Joel’s “Still Rock and Roll to Me,” with its hum-drum drive that can only elicit good feelings and fond memories of a golden age in rock. Casablancas even slacks his jaw and sings in that same relaxed (almost drunk, maybe) Joel kind of way. They switch it up again in Metabolism, taking on a Metallica persona. Heavy rock chords are mixed in with high wailing from the lead singer, with loud, ominous and distorted guitar solos.
Each song seems to take influence from various artists, yet always sticking to the Strokes’ indie origins (hence the title “Angles” as they are looking at music in new light and employing new techniques). These new methods of exploration work for the band – any group that is brave enough to try something new, and do so well, is to be applauded. It is different, but it is still The Strokes, and fans will not be disappointed with the changes. They still rock and they’re still catchy. They are growing up, and it is rewarding to see them progress as artists, refusing to fall on the back-burner like so many others of our generation. When Casablancas sings “I don’t need any more women right now” in “Taken For A Fool,” it seems like a huge leap for the lead singer, as getting chics seemed to be his main priority in previous works. Though different, they’re still the same melodies indie-heads can sway back and forth to at shows, and it is still damn good music.
Many bands appear frozen in time, and many lose their appeal as the years pass and their lyrics still speak of house parties and one night stands. The fact that The Strokes acknowledge these moments as impermanent, and do not romanticize the youthful rock star mentality shows a promise of longevity for the band. They are staying afloat in the industry by trying new things and being mature enough to understand, for the most part, that bands get old and audiences wither unless you can progress with them and embrace change. Fans of The Strokes new and old can appreciate this fantastic album from any angle.