Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Great Fall Off

There's a common problem among musical acts, regardless of genre, that usually goes into effect around the third or fourth album. Put simply, they begin to suck.

Whatever the reasoning behind it is, be it complacency, old age or misguided attempts at experimenting, most bands hit a wall around this point in their careers. The Strokes new album, Angles, is exhibit A (as in awful). The Strokes have always played the role of bratty rich kids or detached, cool New York rockers (depending on how you look at them) without veering off into douchebag territory, but lately (judging by this album and recent television appearances) they may have taken that plunge.

While I might be in the minority here at PTU in thinking their last album was their best (I thought it mixed up the more rocking songs with the slower ones and Julian Casablancas's vocals were as good as they ever sounded, as well as doing away with the drum machine sound of the first 2 albums), Angles is a unanimous choice as their worst offering to date. About half of the tracks on the album (with the exception of the first single and possibly best song on here Under the Cover of Darkness and album closer Life is Simple in the Moonlight along with a couple other tracks) follow a similar pattern, '80s style synths and drums and the whiniest voice you've ever heard Casablancas use, before eventually switching to his lower register at some point. The lyrics are snarky as ever (sometimes good for a laugh, other times just annoying) and the hooks are pretty forgettable (not a good sign when you're attempting to make 80's era new wave songs). This isn't to say I don't like the music of that era or bands who try to replicate that sound when done the right way, unfortunately this isn't one of those instances.

As someone rightly pointed out to me last night, the band started their career imitating '70s garage rock so the next logical step is '80s new wave (hopefully, their next album will sound more like Nirvana than Limp Bizkit). I usually give albums a couple chances before making a decision on them, but Angles needs no further review.

1 out of 4 bagels. You can judge for yourself here.

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