By: Captain Pownzor
I was eagerly awaiting a new strokes album since the amazing “First Impressions of Earth” that came out of 2006. With the strokes talking up a new more 70's rock feel I was hoping it was not going to be a repeat of Casablanca's solo album which did not have anywhere close to the same sound.
I knew it was going to be an evolution and I knew that there had been various tensions surrounding the band members as well as the mixing and production of the album. Hence why it was 5 years in the making.
When I heard the first single “Under Cover of Darkness” I was given pretty high hopes. This sounded similar to the old strokes sound. With a really catchy guitar hook and a completely infectious chorus this was indie rock you could throw on at a rock club and get the whole dance floor moving. As I waited in anticipation for the album I fell more and more in love with the single.
When the album finally dropped I couldn't wait to put it on but the remaining songs I expected to be the caliber of the single were just not there. From the opening riff on “Machu Picchu” we can tell we are dealing with a very different kind of strokes. The idea of this 70's rock velvet underground feel that the strokes were going for seems to get muddled up in 80's throwback material.
“Two Kinds of Happiness” is a bit of a fusion of this 80s sound with that of the old strokes, It is tolerable but the intro falls very flat. If anything the song could almost do without it. What is impressive in this track is the complex drum beat which is more or less unheard of in previous work by the strokes.
“Your So Right” Channels a strange kind of post punk entity sounding very different again, in the bridge it almost has sort of an early goth industrial vibe. Overall it is a standout WTF on the album. Song is alright but it is a monkey wrench breaking up the theme and sound of the album.
“Gratisfaction” the only song on the album that kind of hits the decade they were shooting for right. This track sounds like a late 70's arena rock outfit. The chorus in fact sounds like it was ripped from a softened out version of a kiss song.
As for the rest of the album it all just kind of blends together. Its a mixture of classic arena rock/80s confusion and a rare bit of the strokes old sound mixed with other elements of post punk sound. A big strange punchbowl of sounds that takes you all over the place. Good albums tend to have a theme and tell a story. The Strokes seem to have the story and theme of their album “Angles” told by someone with Alzheimer's