The continuing rock ’n’ roll soap opera of this New York City band has added a curious twist to an already schizophrenic album: Angles—with all its arguments, re-evaluation, producer changes, delays and power shifts within the band’s chemistry—has turned out to be the band’s democratic dance of all possible rock ‘n’roll sub-genres. Sure, it doesn’t have the garage punk glory of 2001’s Is This It debut, and it’s not even as good as 2003’s Room On Fire, but it’s better than 2006’s botched First Impressions Of Earth (which isn’t exactly saying much).
Reportedly, singer/songwriter Julian Casablancas had to come kicking and screaming to the altar of letting the rest of the band write stuff too. The result is a wildly careening mess of varying sounds. In reading its reviews, various rock critics have likened its tracks to—get this!—the Cars, The Who, Velvet Underground, Yardbirds, Men At Work, Bowie, Kinks, Tom Petty, U2 and Thin Lizzy (not so much each song but the parts within the songs). As such, to that end, Angles is entertaining, short (10 tracks in 34:26), compact, direct, blunt and fun, a little feel-good shot of adrenaline.
No great work of art, Angles is disposable pop for people on the go. Funny thing, though, it’s starting to sound better and better the more times I play it.
In A Word: WTF!