Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Strokes Angled & Show # 345

On March 22nd, The Strokes released their fourth full length album Angles. Before you listen to the album, its title and album cover art (originally done by Belgian artist Guy Pouppez) should give you a good impression of what to expect from the band on their most recent studio effort. Angles was recorded differently than the bands previous releases, the band began working on demos in 2009. The Strokes then began work with producer Joe Chiccarelli in 2010 recording 18 songs, but the band were not happy with the results. Relocating to guitarist Albert Hammond Jr.’s home studio the band recorded and produced their album with the help of Gus Oberg. The album was recorded in an almost fractured like state, the band worked together more as a whole, while singer Julian Casablancas kept his distance, recording most of his vocals at Electric Lady Land Studios on his own. It has been said that this method was used by the singer, who has often been the dominant song writer in the group, to force the band into the creative process becoming more uniform and collective in the process. Out of the 18 songs that were demoed for this album, ten made the cut, only one of which originates from the bands sessions with Joe Chiccarelli.

Many critics hailed this album as a return to form when The Strokes released their first single from the album “Undercover of Darkness”. While the song is a return to form of sorts, it sounds as if it combines elements from the bands first album Is This It? with songs from their second album Room On Fire. The song could be described as “Last Nite” meets “Reptilia”. It is a strong song found on the album, which shows off many different colours, sometimes leaning in the experimental electronic sounding direction. As a whole, Angles is heavily rooted in the 80s, the first track “Machu Picchu” is a song that was originally conceived by guitarist Nick Valensi and has a Reggae flavour in the verses with Rock sounding choruses, sounding fresh and retro at the same time. The first line “I’m putting your patience to the test” is a declaration of what is to come musically, the songs are at times familiar sounding, at other times different leaning either in an 80s influenced or electronic influenced direction.

Critics have also been fast to attack the album, but it has many strong moments. “Two Kinds of Happiness”, another Valensi original sounds like an 80s song from Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, exemplifying The Strokes slower, but catchy groove, while “Taken For A Fool” sounds like an outtake from The Strokes Room On Fire album, “Gratisfaction” is a guitar heavy track, sounding like classic Strokes, but at the same time sounding like a song that could have been on their last studio effort First Impressions of Earth, “Life Is Simple In The Moonlight” ends the album and ties up all the loose ends. It is an encompassing, catchy track with lingering synthesizers, dual guitar lines, and lyrics from Casablancas stating “Don’t try to stop us, get out of the way” that brings the album musically and lyrically full circle.

The experimental and different structured songs fill in the gaps providing variety and songs of different shades, this is evident on tracks such as “You’re So Right” a track penned by bassist Nikolai Frature that is dominated with its dark, but heavy electronic sounding drums and digital guitar lines, “Games” which has an 80s Caribbean stripes and 80s futuristic sounds, “Call Me Back” is a slower melodic track that at times seems a kin to Radiohead. During the bands five year hiatus, all of the bands members have created solo efforts, with the exception of guitarist Nick Valensi, but now The Strokes have returned with Angles an album of many eclectic shades and colours, but also one with elements that fans have come to identify and love. Currently The Strokes will embark on a tour, and have already been said to be in the early stages of their fifth album.

The Play List:

1. The Horrors - Gloves
2. The Gruesomes - Way Down Below
3. Main Line - Don't Wait Around
4. Them - Bright Lights, Big City
5. The High Numbers - I'm The Face
6. Love - Skid
7. 13th Floor Elevators - You're Gonna Miss Me
8. Arcylics - Molly's Vertigo
9. Les Breastfeeders - 400 Miles
10. Memphis - I Am The Photographer
11. Danny & The Rockin' Revelators - Forbidden Fruit
12. Radiohead - Give Up The Ghost
13. Harlem - Tila & I
14. The Mark Inside - You Can't Take Her With You When Its Over
15. Papermaps - Can't Make A Living
16. The Strokes - Gratisfaction
17. The Strokes - Life Is Simple In The Moonlight
18. The Crocodiles - Neon Jesus
19. The Atlantics - When You're Young
20. The Scraps - Gossip
21. Spiral Beach - After Midnite
22. Sick of Sarah - Over Exposure
23. Fire Engines - New Thing In Cartons
24. Dirty Pretty Things - You Fucking Love It

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for March 29. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

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