The Strokes' "Angles": track by track

The Strokes return with ten tracks of baroque new-wave and an array of keyboards. In other words, what nobody was expecting.

“Under Cover of Darkness”


Everyone has heard this comforting first single, so there’s little use in going into detail. However, nothing else on the record sounds remotely like this jangling, jumpy echo of the Strokes’ past. Which will excite and disappoint different factions.


“Two Kinds of Happiness”


The palm-muted guitar chugging from the Cars’ “You Might Think” cruises straight out of the past and into these verses. Layers of Julian’s oohs and aahs swirl over the ’80s-radio riff. When the tune swerves and bursts into the chorus, it resembles Casablancas’s “Left & Right in the Dark.” His voice rises: "Don't waste your heart!" Some nifty guitar shredding swoops in, before the axes duel with some quick call-and-response robotic bird chittering. It this what Bryan Adams would sound like on LSD?


“You're So Right”


Jumps out of the gate with fuzzy spy guitar, as if “River of Brakelights” was retooled for a car chase. (Another Phrazes comparison. You’re sensing the theme.) A fat synth wafts overs the skittering bridge like a woodwind instrument. Fab races through a metronomic cymbal attack. "I'm done with the office / I'm done with the office / Hello, forest," Casablancas intones in a lightly robotic fashion. Later, there’s a disorienting staccato vocal bit where each of his words jumps around your headphone space. A rowdy glam guitar attack finishes out the cut, as the singer repeats, "I don't want to argue." This is set to be the b-side to “Under Cover of Darkness,” and will give folks a much better feel of the album come March 1.


“Taken for a Fool”


If you squint hard enough, this comes closest to fitting on Room on Fire. There’s that nifty, high guitar sound from “12:51,” and a soulful chorus. Elsewhere, Casablancas sounds distressed and paranoid: "I know / Everyone goes / Any damn place they like," "A tourist in the ghetto / Not afraid of anything / Except death," "You're so gullible but I don't mind." That bright chorus flips the song over in mood. A day later, this chorus has stuck with me most. There are some goofy lyrics here (“on the toxic radio”) but also some of my favorite nuggets, like: "Tuesday is my weekend.” When the source of that line lives in sunglasses, you buy the statement.