By Alison Smith, 20, reporting from Brooklyn, NY, on the return of the band that made her favorite album of the last decade
The Strokes are back after five years, two months, and 19 days -- some of us pay attention to such things -- with their album Angles. Last time I wrote a RED Hearts on the Strokes, it was to call their 2001 debut, Is This It, the album of the decade.
While Angles doesn't reach that legendary level, it does introduce an album in tune with the progression of band's catalog. For the first time, some Strokes other than the singer Julian Casablancas had a part in writing songs, and the contributions show -- with the occasional disconnected result, but usually in good ways.
Angles opens with a reggae beat on the incredibly catchy "Machu Picchu"and the line "I'm putting patience to the test," a sentiment not lost on fans who have waited for this album. It marks a clear change of era for the Strokes -- these are no longer Lower East Side boys calling back to the '70s. This time they've jumped to the late '80s.
Where their last album, 2005's First Impressions of Earth, dealt with falling in love and growing up, Angles seems to mainly address absence and discomfort, contrasted with upbeat music. Lyrics often reference past songs such as the line on the lead single "Under the Cover of Darkness": "I've been out around this town/everyone's been singing the same song for ten years," calling back the decade-old line from hit "Last Nite" ("I've been in town for just about fifteen minutes now"). And it's true: Julian, Nick, Nikolai, Albert, and Fab aren't indifferent newcomers anymore. Instead they're veteran musicians forced to live up to their past successes while taking on a new form of democracy.
It's a big job for the boys, one that comes with its positives and negatives. On the whole though, I really like Angles. Instant favorites include the bass-heavy "Taken For A Fool" and the quietly powerful "Life is Simple in the Moonlight." While the Strokes have expressed deep divides among them and resentment for the recording process, Angles can't help but feel like a promising new beginning for the band. While I won't hold my breath, I hope we won't have to wait another half-decade for another Strokes album. Until then, I'll have Angles on repeat.