This past July I had the opportunity to see the Strokes play for the third time in my life. It was in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco and the set consisted entirely of their back catalogue, no hints at any of the new material. What I saw on stage though was promising, they seemed to be having fun and, more importantly, they sounded better than ever. I met Julian after the show, suppressing fan-boy urges I tried my darnedest to play it cool and told him earnestly that I eagerly awaited the release of their next record. The "conversation" went something, if not exactly, like this. Oh and I should tell you first that we were waiting in line for toilets, he went into a locked V.I.P. porto-potty and I caught him on the way out. I should also add that he was very pleasant and happy to talk to me...
LL: Hey that was great.
LL: Yeah it sounded great. You guys looked and sounded like you were really having fun.
JC: I'm glad you believed the illusion.
JC: I have this key to the porto john, I don't know who to give it to though.
LL: Oh that's okay I'll just wait for the regular one, I don't know if I can do a V.I.Pee pee.
LL: Nice meeting you man, have a good night.
JC: You too, thanks!
I have to admit when they finally flung the first taste of new material our way with "Under Cover of Darkness" I was disappointed. A band I've loved since I was 16, I hung on their every word and bended string, but what I heard was a watered down, vacant, sterile Strokes. I subsequently lowered my standards for the rest of Angles.
Skip ahead a few weeks to this evening as I lay in bed searching the internet for any leaked copies (don't steal music - I will certainly be buying a copy of the LP next week when it is officially released). Well let's just say I wasn't laying very long. I was absolutely delighted. I heard a band embracing everything they'd hinted at over the past ten years. Welcoming slick rock sounds with strong leanings on 80s fun. I heard Queen, I heard the Cars, I heard Tom Petty and Blondie and I heard something entirely new. This is a fun, rejuvenated and ambitious Strokes. They're using synths. They're doubling, tripling, even quadrupling vocals. Julian is experimenting and pushing the boundaries of the music even further at times than he did with his solo effort (which I enjoyed) but one thing is for sure: these guys function best when they're all together.
Anyways, I hate record reviews and I didn't want to write one. I just wanted to gush a bit about one of my favourite bands releasing something new that I am genuinely excited to listen to over and over and over again.