Tuesday, March 22 2011 00:00


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strokesanglesI was working for the now-defunct Sam Goody a decade ago when THE STROKES burst onto the scene with their now-classic album IS THIS IT. The band was instantly compared to a host of acts from the 1970's, but aside from their lo-fi garage rock approach, I could never find a definitive link between them and any of the bands they were supposedly aping. What mattered is that THE STROKES had a sound that was drastically different from what everyone else was doing at the time, and the album rocked. Ten years later, the band has released ANGLES, an album that confirms what many have suspected: lightning does not strike twice for The Strokes.

Having followed a clear path of declining quality from their first to third albums, ANGLES marks a band on the upswing, though not as good as 2003's ROOM ON FIRE. If their first couple of albums represented a band with roots in the 70's, then ANGLES represents a shift into the 1980's. The cover art alone is enough to make you recall the early days of MTV, and the audio contents have more in-common with Hearbeat City-era CARS than the fuzzed out guitars present on their earlier works.

Released as a single a few months ago, "Under Cover of Darkness"  is the hook to make listeners believe that The Strokes have returned to that first album glory, but nothing else on ANGLES comes close to that same sound. Songs like "Two Kinds of Happiness" and "Games" sound like forgotten soundtrack material, while"Gratisfaction" plays like a piano-less Billy Joel. Some of the weirder moments such as "Call Me Back" are the true highlights here.

Overall, ANGLES is a good album, albeit an uneven one that feels rushed despite a five-year wait.

Rating: 3/5

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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