Angles
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 18, 2011
RecordedJuly 2009 - December 2010
Studio
Genre
Length34:27
LabelRCA
Producer
The Strokes chronology
First Impressions of Earth
(2006)
Angles
(2011)
Comedown Machine
(2013)
Singles from Angles
  1. "Under Cover of Darkness"
    Released: February 9, 2011
  2. "Taken for a Fool"
    Released: July 1, 2011

Angles is the fourth studio album by American rock band The Strokes. It was released on March 22, 2011, through RCA Records. It was the group's first album in over five years, following First Impressions of Earth (2006).

Recording

After touring in support of First Impressions of Earth, the Strokes went on an extended hiatus in 2007[2] and then regrouped two years later to begin writing new material for a fourth album.[3] The album took more than two years to materialize, with the band recording live demos of 18 songs before heading into Avatar Studios in New York with producer Joe Chiccarelli, but without frontman Julian Casablancas.[4] Not long after recording began, however, the band became frustrated with both Chiccarelli's reserved production style and Casablancas' absence. Only one song from these recording sessions, "Life Is Simple in the Moonlight", remained in its original form on the album's track listing. The rest of the songs were either scrapped or reworked by the band with engineer Gus Oberg at guitarist Albert Hammond, Jr.'s home studio in Port Jervis, Upstate New York.[5]

While Casablancas’ disengagement may have been by design, guitarist Nick Valensi found the whole experience deeply dissatisfying. "I won’t do the next album if we make it like this. No way. It was awful– just awful. Working in a fractured way, not having a singer there. I’d show up certain days and do guitar takes by myself, just me and the engineer."[6] He added that most of Casablancas' ideas and suggestions were written "in really vague terms" and then sent to the band by email, leaving the others without much to go on. In an interview with Pitchfork, Casablancas stated: "When I'm there, people might wait for me to say something. I think it took me being a little mute to force the initiative".

These stories and reports stating the album was written separately by the band from Casablancas however, were untrue. The vocals were indeed recorded separately by Casablancas, but they were written together, in session, with the rest of the band present. Casablancas later said, "The funny thing about Angles is there was all that weird talk about recording it separately. We just had dinner in L.A. and we were all talking about it. And they forget that we sat in a room in a studio and were writing songs forever. That's where we did the whole record. All the parts, the songs, in a room, together. We recorded them with two mics, and that was the foundation, and then we were going to go track the official recording. That's when they went and recorded stuff, and when the 'Julian wasn't there,' BS or whatever [started]. That was just because logistically, we'd never done a record like that".[7]

Hammond's drug abuse and resulting rehab — stemming from his breakup with model Agyness Deyn — was another hurdle the band faced during the album's production, as he missed early recording sessions.[8]

Musical style

The Strokes at Austin City Limits Festival in 2010

Speaking to Zane Lowe, Nikolai Fraiture stated that he felt Angles would be "a return to the basics", suggesting the songs would be of similar style to their acclaimed 2001 debut record, Is This It. He added, "Sonically, I feel it's the album which should have been made between Room on Fire and First Impressions of Earth".[9] However, the band decided to experiment with various production techniques, including MIDI electronic samples.[10] Producer Gus Oberg claimed that despite wanting to use MIDI, neither he nor the band were satisfied with the results, and instead used a number of keyboards, with every member of the band playing the same parts manually instead for at least one song each.[10] These included mainly the Roland Juno-106, as well as the MicroKORG XL, a Wurlitzer electric piano, and a Farfisa organ.[10] The band also utilised a number of guitar pedals, more so than previously, including the Maxon AD999 delay, the Electro‑Harmonix Memory Man, and various Green Rhino distortion pedals.[10] Oberg would record the digital guitar tracks onto tape, using a TEAC quarter‑inch tape machine during tracking sessions, before re-recording them back to digital for mixing, in order to gain a more analogue sound.[10] He also used the machine to achieve a slap‑back echo on the drum track for 'Gratisfaction'.[10] The band also made extensive use of overdubbed guitars, and various vocal techniques, such as backing vocals for the first time, vocal harmonies, and vocal layering techniques, including double tracking, all of which are most notable on "Under Cover of Darkness".[10]

Singles

The first single to promote Angles, "Under Cover of Darkness", was released on February 11, 2011. The 7" was officially released on March 1, 2011 and contained "You're So Right" as the B-side. The second single, "Taken for a Fool", was released on July 1, 2011. A live version of the track, recorded during an April 1, 2011 concert at Madison Square Garden and featuring Elvis Costello, was made available as the single's accompanying B-side. The song "Machu Picchu" appears on the soundtrack for EA Sports video game, FIFA 12.[11] and was released as the third single on August 8, 2011.[12]

Reception

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic71/100[13]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic[14]
The A.V. ClubB+[15]
Entertainment WeeklyB−[16]
The Guardian[17]
The Independent[18]
NME[19]
Pitchfork5.9/10[20]
PopMatters[21]
Rolling Stone[22]
Spin8/10[23]

Critical

Media response to Angles was generally favorable; aggregating website Metacritic reports a normalized rating of 71, based on 41 reviews.[13] In his four-star review, David Fricke of Rolling Stone explained that the record was "worth the wait", and summed it up as "the first step away from the sound of their instant-classic debut. Instead of the rigid purity of 'Is This It,' the new album nods to the more expansive sound of the Velvet Underground's 1970 record, Loaded."[24] Other critics praised Angles as a welcome reinvention for the band, with NME noting that it "lives up to its name by coming at you from some very obtuse places."[25] Claire Suddath of Time called the album "a 10 song exercise in rock precision,"[26] and Mikael Wood of Spin proclaimed that it "reminds you why they were so irresistible in the first place".[23] Amanda Petrusich of Entertainment Weekly gave the album a B−, describing it as "accordingly fractured and often inscrutable, but (with) returns to form."[16]

Commercial

Angles entered the Australian albums chart at number one, the Strokes' first time at the top spot within the country and the second time such a feat has occurred thus far in the band's career. Meanwhile, it reached number four in the US with an entry sales week of 89,000 units, 1,000 more than that of its predecessor, First Impressions of Earth. As of 2012 it has sold 213,000 copies in United States.[27]

Track listing

All tracks are written by The Strokes

Angles track listing
No.TitleLength
1."Machu Picchu"3:32
2."Under Cover of Darkness"3:57
3."Two Kinds of Happiness"3:44
4."You're So Right"2:34
5."Taken for a Fool"3:25
6."Games"3:52
7."Call Me Back"3:03
8."Gratisfaction"2:59
9."Metabolism"3:05
10."Life Is Simple in the Moonlight"4:15
Total length:34:27

Personnel

Charts

Certifications and sales

Certifications for Angles
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[59] Platinum 70,000
Spain 2,385[a]
United Kingdom (BPI)[62] Gold 170,000[61]

Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Notes

  1. ^ Spanish sales as of March 2011 according to PROMUSICAE.[60]

References

  1. ^ Matt Sullivan (May 2, 2011). "The Strokes: Angles". American Songwriter. Archived from the original on October 17, 2011. Retrieved April 11, 2019.
  2. ^ Bychawski, Adam (May 24, 2007). "The Strokes to take the year off". NME. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved February 20, 2011.
  3. ^ "The Strokes: 'We've started writing our fourth album'". NME. January 26, 2009. Archived from the original on January 30, 2009. Retrieved February 20, 2011.
  4. ^ Fricke, David (January 18, 2011). "The Return of the Strokes: Inside the Fractious Sessions for Their Fourth Album". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 30, 2021.
  5. ^ "The Strokes begin recording fourth album with U2, Beck producer". NME. February 4, 2010. Archived from the original on February 6, 2010. Retrieved May 30, 2021.
  6. ^ Garrett, Jonathan (March 7, 2011). "This Is It: Ten Years of the Strokes". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on March 8, 2011. Retrieved March 20, 2011.
  7. ^ Doyle, Patrick (October 28, 2014). "22 Things You Learn Hanging Out With Julian Casablancas". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 29, 2014.
  8. ^ Yuan, Jada (March 20, 2009). "Agyness Deyn and Albert Hammond Jr. Break Up, Remain Friends". Nymag.com. Retrieved May 12, 2012.
  9. ^ Murray, Robin (January 18, 2011). "The Strokes Confirm Album Release Date - 18 Jan 2011 | Clash Music Latest Breaking Music News". Clash. Retrieved May 30, 2021.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h Tingen, Paul (June 2011). "Gus Oberg: Recording The Strokes' Angles". Retrieved June 14, 2015.
  11. ^ Trapara, Nemanja (September 12, 2011). "FIFA 12 soundtrack featuring 39 artists from 15 countries". EA Sports Football. Archived from the original on September 23, 2011. Retrieved October 2, 2011.
  12. ^ "Machu Picchu Promo Single". September 12, 2011. Retrieved June 10, 2015.
  13. ^ a b "Angles Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved October 26, 2011.
  14. ^ Heather Phares. "Angles". AllMusic. Retrieved May 30, 2021.
  15. ^ Steven Hyden (March 11, 2011). "The Strokes: Angles". The A.V. Club. Retrieved May 30, 2021.
  16. ^ a b Petrusich, Amanda (March 17, 2011). "Angles". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on March 18, 2011. Retrieved January 17, 2022.
  17. ^ Alexis Petredis (March 17, 2011). "The Strokes: Angles – review". The Guardian. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
  18. ^ Andy Gill (March 18, 2011). "Album: The Strokes, Angles (Rough Trade)". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on March 19, 2011. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
  19. ^ Barry Nicholson (March 16, 2011). "Album Review: The Strokes - Angles (Rough Trade)". NME. Archived from the original on March 24, 2011. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
  20. ^ Ryan Dombal (March 21, 2011). "The Strokes: Angles". Pitchfork. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
  21. ^ Arnold Pan (March 21, 2011). "The Strokes: Angles". PopMatters. Archived from the original on March 22, 2011. Retrieved May 30, 2021.
  22. ^ Fricke, David (March 16, 2011). "The Strokes". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 30, 2021.
  23. ^ a b Wood, Mikael (March 6, 2011). "The Strokes 'Angles'". Spin. Retrieved May 30, 2021.
  24. ^ "Strokes' New Album 'Angles' is Best Since Their Debut". Rollingstone. March 16, 2011. Retrieved May 30, 2021.
  25. ^ "Album Review: The Strokes - Angles (Rough Trade)". NME. March 16, 2011. Retrieved May 30, 2021.
  26. ^ Suddath, Claire (March 21, 2011). "Back Strokes". Time. Archived from the original on May 15, 2011. Retrieved May 30, 2021.
  27. ^ "The Strokes Working On New Album in New York". Billboard. June 12, 2012. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  28. ^ The Strokes - Angles (RCA Records/Rough Trade Records, 2011)
  29. ^ "Interviews – Rock & Folk April 2011". April 2011. Archived from the original on March 23, 2011. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  30. ^ "Australiancharts.com – The Strokes – Angles". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  31. ^ "Austriancharts.at – The Strokes – Angles" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  32. ^ a b "Ultratop.be – The Strokes – Angles" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  33. ^ "Ultratop.be – The Strokes – Angles" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  34. ^ "The Strokes Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  35. ^ "Danishcharts.dk – The Strokes – Angles". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  36. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – The Strokes – Angles" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  37. ^ "The Strokes: Angles" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  38. ^ "Lescharts.com – The Strokes – Angles". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  39. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – The Strokes – Angles" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  40. ^ "Irish-charts.com – Discography The Strokes". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  41. ^ "Italiancharts.com – The Strokes – Angles". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  42. ^ "Charts.nz – The Strokes – Angles". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  43. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – The Strokes – Angles". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  44. ^ "Portuguesecharts.com – The Strokes – Angles". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  45. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 17, 2021.
  46. ^ "Spanishcharts.com – The Strokes – Angles". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  47. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – The Strokes – Angles". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  48. ^ "Swisscharts.com – The Strokes – Angles". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  49. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  50. ^ "The Strokes Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  51. ^ "The Strokes Chart History (Top Alternative Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  52. ^ "The Strokes Chart History (Top Rock Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  53. ^ "The Strokes Chart History (Top Tastemaker Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  54. ^ "ARIA Charts – End of Year Charts – Top 100 Albums 2011". Australian Recording Industry Association. Archived from the original on January 12, 2012. Retrieved January 25, 2012.
  55. ^ "Los Más Vendidos 2011" (PDF) (in Spanish). Asociación Mexicana de Productores de Fonogramas y Videogramas. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 31, 2012. Retrieved January 19, 2012.
  56. ^ "End Of Year Chart 2011" (PDF). ChartsPlus. Retrieved May 7, 2021.
  57. ^ "Top Billboard 200 Albums – Year-End 2011". Billboard. Retrieved June 5, 2020.
  58. ^ "Top Rock Albums – Year-End 2011". Billboard. Retrieved June 5, 2020.
  59. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2020 Albums" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association.
  60. ^ "Britney, 4.621 copias; Radiohead, 2.287". El Mundo (in Spanish). March 28, 2011. Retrieved January 4, 2024.
  61. ^ "Indie rock's slow and painful death". The Guardian. January 16, 2012. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  62. ^ "British album certifications – The Strokes – Angles". British Phonographic Industry.