The Strokes are without a doubt the pioneers of what Rolling Stone magazine justly calls the “modern-garage era” – combining jumpy punk rhythms, pop melodies, pulsing lead guitars and that now-famous vocal overdrive.
Having previously released three very successful albums, The Strokes are surely part of the mainstream contemporary musical landscape. This explains fans’ unrepressed excitement for the release of their fourth record, Angles.
It was revealed in interviews that the band had recorded the album under some awkward conditions. For one thing, Julian Casablancas recorded the vocals all the way in Los Angeles while the rest of the band recorded the instrumental parts in upstate New York. With such limited inter-band co-operation, it may seem unlikely that The Strokes would be capable of producing an album that is as awesome as their previous records were. But musically, Angles represents a step forward and out of the band’s comfort zone.
Overall, the album is musically complex and varied. The influence of a broader range of genres is seen in songs like “Two Kinds of Happiness” and “Games.” With the help of synthesizers, they sound like ‘80s pop.
The band also makes good use of their traditional lead guitar effects. In songs like “Taken For A Fool,” the vocals are used as a tool to mark rhythm, as well as to create a jumpy and overall upbeat sound.
The record also features some slower songs such as “Call Me Back” and “Life Is Simple In The Moonlight.” With these tunes, melancholic melodies are set over fast-paced guitars and beats, thanks to Casablancas’ gravelly yet nonchalant vocals.
In terms of style and structure, the diversity among songs is most probably due to the fact that each band member contributed to the songwriting process. The Strokes have chosen to bring in electronic elements, giving the record a futuristic touch. But fans be warned: the band does move away from their characteristic sound, which may cause true fans to look back nostalgically on The Strokes’ early days.
Trial Track: “You’re So Right”