Angles: The Strokes
Rs 500,Rating: **
You probably thought they spluttered and died way back in 2006,soon after First Impressions of Earth came by. You probably thought they decided to pack their guitars and catch the first bus to NYC from where they had risen from the dust 13 years ago. At some point in this album,you find yourself wishing that was true.
The indie rock band known as The Strokes,which once floored critics with songs like Hard to explain and Last nite,has finally announced its emergence from hibernation with a new album. And a little credit here,boys,because they did work through a lot of pain to bring Angles out.
The very first track,Machu Picchu,drives home the point that Angles is going to be no run-of-the-mill rock album. A queer marriage between reggae and the kind of stuff that bands like Men at Work grew big on,it sails ahead on bongo and pulsating beats of electronica,then screams guitar when its time for the chorus. Any resemblance of the song title to the 15th century Inca site in Peru has to be completely coincidental,because the near-cryptic lyrics speak of everything but well Machu Picchu.
Things,however,get a little simpler (as much as The Strokes can get,mind you) in Under cover of the darkness and Taken for a fool. True,the vocals remain unconventionally scruffy and your largely conservative music sense tut-tuts at the way electronic sounds keep popping up in the background,but you dutifully take note that it has drawn less bad blood than the first and the deepest cut.
Life is simple in the moonlight,one of the slower and more conventional tracks in the album,helps it take yet another step in the right direction. But then,Call me back with its musical box influences sends the whole thing off on another bumpy detour,and you cant help but feel like a guinea pig thats being subjected to some bizarre sonic experiment.
Well,given the circumstances surrounding the creation of Angles vocalist Julian Casablancas distancing himself from his band buddies so that they can develop some creativity of their own,and guitarist Albert Hammond taking to drugs after his break-up with his model girlfriend you have to appreciate The Strokes for coming out with a half-way decent album that actually managed to send a couple of tracks up the Billboard charts. But if you like your rock the way mama made it,before the newbies defiled the hallowed grounds with their synthesised vocals and electronic keyboards,keep that Whitesnake record handy.