Tuesday, March 15, 2011

1 Week Until ANGLES

The Strokes have placed Angles on full stream on their website (Click). One week from today, this new venture will be in the public's hands. As a Stroke fanboy from the get-go 10 years ago, I wait with baited breath. A four year hiatus with numerous solo acts (Albert Hammond's two albums, Fabrizio's Little Joy, Julian Casablancas - Phrazes for the Young, and Nikolai's NickleEye), the band is back together. After reading the review of 2006's First Impressions of Earth and the subsequent cover story in SPIN, I feared the worst. I was reminded of reading about the Beatles circa Abbey Road and the White Album. The boys of NYC are no Fab Four, but they were just as disjointed. Recording their parts individually with engineers and the like rarely being together as a band in the studio. Tensions were high. SPIN stated that this sounded like the last Strokes album. I agreed... While technically savvy, F.I.O.E. was a mess. Polished in many ways but in the end it seemed like lipstick on a pig. Nothing cures tensions like a lengthy Tour.... I was sure they were done. Apparently, we were wrong.

As I await Angles, I find myself back in 2005/6. Has absence made the heart grow fonder? For them? For me? For anyone? The recording process went down much like they did in '05. The band got together in the studio in NYC or in upstate NY at Hammond's place. The common theme was the lack of a lead singer. Julian was never in the studio as a creative force. In an attempt to lessen his hold on the "wheel" of the band, he stepped back. There are other creative voices at work in this group, and he let them speak. While the band laid down the tracks upstate, Julian was on tour promoting his solo debut. Later, he would step into famed Electric Ladyland studios in Manhattan to record vocal tracks that would be sent as digital files to the rest of the band. This situation had to make for a frustrating process. Lead guitarist, Nick Valensi, was the lone member without a solo effort. Did he like the idea of going rogue?

"I'm not a huge supporter of side/solo stuff. I'm of the opinion that you're in a band and that's what you do. If there's leftover material and time, then sure, by all means. But if you're playing material that you haven't even shown to your main band and you're just sort of keeping it for yourself, I'm not a big fan of that."

The band's original fan club started in 2001 under the guise Alone, Together (after the Is This It track). This moniker couldn't describe the state of the band any better... With the fourth album looming, Julian has his reservations.

Do you like the finished product?

Julian: "I mean... yes... It's a tough question because I think the whole point was that I was going to let things go so there's a bunch of stuff [on the record] I wouldn't have done."

Is this the last Strokes album?

Julian: "I definitely think there will be a fifth Strokes album. I mean, I hope so."

Time to hold my breath....


A said...

Still digesting (streaming) . . . I think I dig it, but hear some Ric Ocasek inspiration???

Will said...

for sure...definitely a moment where I found myself saying, "She's my best friend's girl,....and she used to be mine....."

had it in the car all week - I'm digging it - Side 1 is better that Side 2, BUT side 2 is the part that is starting to grow on me...