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4.1 out of 5 stars59
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 4 March 2012
I know that once you've read this title, you probably think I'm not a proper Strokes fan. You can dispel that thought now - once I only talked in Strokes lyrics and I found it fairly easy... that's how dedicated I was.
However, I lost the bug in the 5 year wait for Angles, as I found so many new bands coming up. Then, when Angles was released, I stupidly listened to the reviews and didn't buy it straight away.
This is an amazing album. JC really perfects his song writing and vocals, and he has managed to write great parts for each instrument, not just for himself. Each song is absolute perfection, my favourite being Metabolism - when it gets to the end it is divine.
However, it's not like Is This It at all.
1) It's deeper. You have to listen to it a few times to fully appreciate it. But once you have gotten into it, you won't be able to put it off...
2) They're not anthems. Perhaps a couple are, but the Strokes have done the anthems thing and now it's time for them to experiment. And frankly, they did it great.
So please, I beg of you, buy this album and love it. God knows that I did.
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on 7 April 2014
Plagued by inter-band tension, strife and ill feeling in the recording studio, The Strokes make their audibly bedraggled return from the wilderness with their fourth album Angles. It’s a comeback LP which is quite a hit-and-miss affair, but there’s no denying there’s still some life in the old dog yet.

The herky jerky cod-reggae of “Machu Picchu” is a promising starting point: a very ‘80s-sounding new wave throwback which sounds like The Police sleepwalking through a gig in a bar full of rednecks whilst on a jittery paranoid comedown from amphetamines. But I defy anyone not to hear that familiar-sounding choppy guitar riff at 1:17 and not feel glad that The Strokes are officially back.

The album’s lead single “Under Cover of Darkness” is a successful merging of their Is This It-era sound with a more reflective, statesmanlike approach to songwriting. It’s fairly ambitious melodically, full of catchy fretwork and proves that Julian Casablancas clearly has his eye on vocally emulating the heartland rock of Tom Petty.

The muted palm of rhythm guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. chugs “Two Kind of Happiness” along a groove The Cars would have killed to create, but ends up sounding uncannily like a leftover from Julian Casablancas's solo album Phrazes for the Young, differentiated only by Nick Valensi’s virtuoso guitar solo. The dark and experimental “You’re So Right” relies on a dirge-y guitar riff, but is a weak song overall, and “Taken for a Fool” is essentially a Room on Fire-era outtake made to sound pretty.

The odd ‘80s synths are back out for “Games,” a passable stab at synthpop which brings to mind mullets and Sinclair ZX spectrum computers. “Call Me Back” has an almost bossa nova-esque opening riff, but aimlessly drifts along like an asylum seeker on a rubber dinghy across the English Channel, with only the promise of a xylophone to offer a bit of progression – it just feels a bit disjunctive, like two or three bits of a different puzzle which don’t quite fit together when thrown into one song.

Some critics have described “Gratisfaction” as The-Strokes-do-Thin-Lizzy, which is quite an apt comparison and I don’t think I could improve on that. Casablancas does certainly try to channel Phil Lynott, but what I will say is that, to me, “Gratisfaction” feels close in spirit to some of the filler tracks on First Impressions of Earth. “Metabolism” is another Room on Fire-esque driving rocker, let down only by Julian’s never-ending wail, like he couldn’t be bothered to find a suitable vocal melody to settle upon.

The album’s finale “Life is Simple in the Moonlight” has been played on SNL and is a pleasant little Tom Verlaine-esque 80s ballad showing a different side to The Strokes's repertoire – even if it does haphazardly resort to a cascading nod to Pavement in an instrumental interlude before its second verse – but it brings the whole album to a satisfying, if not magnificent, conclusion.

I can’t quite place what it is about Angles which didn’t quite hit the mark for me. I feel it has moments of brilliance, some of which make me pleased to be a Strokes fan, but there’s something about this album which feels scattershot. It isn’t quite as edgy as it’s trying to be, like it’s been smoothed out with sandpaper in the rehearsal process, stripped bear of its unpredictability and its ingenuity in the production process, much to the detriment of the album's overall sound.

Angles feels like its been shorn of what made The Strokes's first two albums so vibrantly original, but spruced up and polished to hide its foibles. There are reasons for this. For one thing, the band have spoken about the two-year process of making Angles, describing it as being very difficult to make, hinting that there is still bad feeling and resentment amongst some members, with Nick Valensi telling The Guardian: “I won’t do the next album like this. No way. It was awful – just awful. Working in a fractured way, not having a singer there." Clearly, Julian Casablancas's lengthy absences from the recording process means Angles wasn't exactly a band effort.

In fact, some might argue that these songs are just the product of Nick, Albert, Nikolai and Fabrizio jamming away to themselves and inviting Casablancas in to sing over the top of them without putting in hardly any musical input himself. In that sense, it’s not a bona fide Strokes album in the way Is This It was (where Julian wrote all the songs). Amazingly, music critics seem to be in unanimous agreement that Angles is the finest Strokes album since Is This It. But it isn’t. It is a product of how the band described their working process: fractured.

Basically, I get the impression that The Strokes were determined Angles would get finished, by hook or by crook, primarily because they knew it’d sell lots of copies by the shed load and make a ton of money. In the absence of Julian, they rehearsed the hell out of the songs until they became rather drab, plodding and lifeless, lacking many of the key ingredients it sorely needed, so as talented as the musicians undoubtedly are, I can’t help but feel like Angles is like a castrated dog of an album. It is a eunuch. It can still woof, but not at the same pitch as it used to, which is a great shame.
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on 20 June 2011
After reading mixed reviews for "Angles" I was cautiously optimistic that The Strokes had come back with a bang and not a whimper.

As soon as the first minute of album opener "Machu Picchu" had played ,it was clear that one of my favourite bands had indeed made a triumphant return.

Whilst it may lack the impact of "Is This It" as a groundbreaking album,it makes up for this with a more polished and at times,experimental sound.

Stand out tracks are "You're So Right" and "Games" but I cannot not really find a track I don't like.This album will break in like a new pair of shoes after a few listens.

If you like "The Strokes" you will like the album and if you are new to the band it will probably make you buy the earlier albums.

I only hope the next album doesn't take so long to release.
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This album has been a long time coming for Strokes' fans, but I've only really started listening to them this year, long after the hype of 2001. It's a good introduction to a band that are in transition and experiment with their capabilities but not to The Strokes as a band per sé. The band themselves say that they hope to record albums more quickly and I believe it shows in Angles. It seems not to be as cohesive an album as one may want from such an established band. However, under scrutiny the songs leave an impression, giving a greater range of incorporated musical ideas that one would not necessarily expect from a Strokes' album (or want, an impression I get from several fans). This album showcases in parts the musicians being given more freedom to show their progression. Nikolai has more complex bass parts, that are more often melodic, but still robotic (in the way that's intended, pleasingly) and Fab also shares in robotic rhythm, best exemplified in 'You're So Right'.

Highlights are: 'Machu Picchu', 'Taken For A Fool', 'Under Cover of Darkness' and 'Call Me Back'.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 2 April 2015
Studio album number four from The Strokes, 'Angles' might be possibly my favourite since the debut (although it certainly is not equal to 'Is This It'!). This isn't in the same style of this 2001 masterpiece, which is always a real 'must' for lovers of ndie-rock music, but it is a progression and something new for 2011.

Each song here is different to the next one, and a showcase of great song writing. From the insanely catchy 'Machu Picchu', the rocking should-have-been-hit single 'Under Cover of Darkness' (which is perhaps the biggest nod to the old stuff on here), the electronically haunting 'Games' with it's 80s pop style and appealing melodies and harmonies, as well as the sweet and gloomy 'Call Me Back', there are no shortage of gems to be found.

'Angles' is the sound of a great, influential indie band who were branching out, change is often good, particularly in this case, so embrace this excellent album guys. If's nicely packaged with a good cover art as well, which is something else that cool man Julian Casablancas and his band have always done.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 3 September 2013
This is certainly not the Strokes best album, but there are a few great tracks on here and any Strokes fan will not want to miss out.

"Machu Picchu" and "Under Cover Of Darkness" are both brilliant and get the album off to a great start.

I just don't get "You're So Right" yet (after 3 complete listens) it is just a boring repetitive drone. I don't often skip songs on an album, I like to just play the whole lot in the order it was intended to be heard - but I have skipped this one a few times.

The highlight later on is of course "Taken For A Fool". The rest of the tracks are pretty good, but overall this is is not up to the standard of "Is this it?" and "Comedown Machine".
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on 16 February 2012
The Strokes have moved from the ordinary sound to a new, good and more song-focused sound. I think, personally, the change worked out very well. It can't never go wrong when this band performs with Julian Casablancas's voice and lovely sound of detachment.

If you love The Strokes or just a rock/indie fan, this album is a must-have.
So buy it! You have my recommendation :).
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on 14 March 2013
'Is This It' is hard for any band to beat. The Strokes' second and third albums are good albums, and they both have some great tracks.

'Angles' is better than albums 2 and 3 though, and if you like the Strokes then you should buy this one for sure.

Some great tracks, catchy and melodic stuff. Basically it's vintage Strokes all over.
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on 22 August 2014
I really love the Strokes so it pains me to say this is only OK... however, compared to 'Comedown Machine' its positively packed with hits... was hoping they would have continued further rocking out after the masterpiece that was 'First Impressions' ... shame. If you don't already have 'Phrazes for the Young', go buy that first instead..
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on 21 March 2011
The question of whether The Strokes still have relevancy has been answered emphatically with this album; the band sound tighter than ever, managing to sound modern whilst channelling a ton of eighties influences, and have put together a set of ten excellent little indie rock songs just in time for the summer. The hype died ten years ago, so this probably won't sell millions of copies, but fans secretly like it that way. You sense a `Sex On Fire' style breakout hit wouldn't be the best thing anyway for this band, whose infighting and lack of cohesiveness nearly put an end to this album let alone the inevitable arena tour that would follow a triple platinum seller.

Like their last two efforts, it's pretty top heavy, with the incredibly groovy `Machu Picchu' and brilliant hook-laden single `Under Cover of Darkness' forming a two pronged attack which makes for their best opening to an album ever. It inevitably slides a little afterwards, but is still remarkably consistent, incorporating rapid riffs, stretched out and dreamy vocals in equal measure and a brilliant performance by the rhythm section who make this immensely and infectiously danceable. It does indeed sound like the combined group effort it was billed as, with every band member playing a major part is making this their most cohesive record since their first, all building up to the wistful closer `Life Is Better In The Moonlight', replete with the laid back synths and duel guitar parts that are characteristic throughout.

They're no longer a garage band, and anyone harking for the distorted, fuzzy production of their imperious debut will be disappointed. In fact, this feels most like a more chilled `Room On Fire', a concise selection of songs with a distinctive bright guitar sound and glossy production. Neither that album or this offer many surprises, but that doesn't matter if you're already a fan. Once again, they've delivered a listenable, effortlessly cool, endlessly enjoyable album that will sound especially great in the car on hazy summer afternoons.
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