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The Strokes are Still Bullshit

It should be commonly accepted that 2001’s Is This It? ranks as one of the better long players from the new millennium’s first decade. It’s also, easily, one of the stronger first albums issued by a rock band since God knows when. Of course, at least half of everything the band’s recorded since then stinks. So, that initial success might not really count at all.

The Strokes, whether successful or not critically, are going to continue to move units and experiment with a wealth of musical stances regardless of what everyone else thinks. That’s what they should do – stasis is a motherfucker. And if that band had simply remade that first record over and over again, no one would be listening anymore. Angels, though, is a ridiculous amalgam of approaches, none executed too well.

What winds up saving schlock like “Undercover of Darkness” from utter uselessness is Julian Cassablanca’s vocal performance. Never a traditionally talented singer, his voice effortlessly fits into just about anything his bandmates have put down. The cheeseball eighties’ breakdown notwithstanding, the song’s a passable radio hit. But not too much more.

Among the aural detritus of “Games,” its overly electronic back beat and all, are a few uptempo, almost punky tunes. “Metabolism” beings with a descending guitar part and a bit of keyboard accompaniment. Unfortunately, after the briefly interesting opening moment, the verse kicks in with that initial musical theme counting as the bridge afterwards. Bummer. It was almost a winner.

The only other passable moment comes during “You're So Right,” another descending melody. There’s that chk-chk drumming that made Is This It? full of driving tunes. Here, though, after the verse, the song’s chorus gets all sappy and useless. Over producing this junk didn’t help much. And with that dropped in guitar solo, the Strokes move further to obsolescenes.

It’d be easy to figure that if the band were allowed to gestate during its earliest days, instead of becoming international stars, following efforts would have come off a bit better. But Angles is actually the next logical step in the band’s progression. It’s all over produced and full of dumb pop songs. Is This It? only had the latter. But that’s how the rock and roll business goes. Surely, the Strokes don’t object to thirteen year old girls buying their records and tickets to shows. Someone has to. And at this point, that might be the most appropriate audience for this tripe.