It’s been ten years since their debut ‘Is This It’ reinvigorated rock music for a new generation and five years since 2006’s ‘First Impressions of Earth’ disappointed in equal measure, tainting the legacy of one of the most important bands to emerge in recent memory. Now after countless solo projects and a five year hiatus the Strokes have returned promising to be bigger than ever, headlining festivals last year across Europe surely marked them as a live force but can they create magic to rival ‘Reptilia’ and ‘Hard to Explain’ in the studio once more? Well its amazing how so much can change in five years once more as ‘Under Cover of Darkness’ the new single from the album ‘Angles’ is a majestic return to form, being as fun as it is addictive.
Jump starting straight into a typical Strokes rock shuffle and layering it with some swinging guitar riffs, it sounds like a band who have re-discovered their mojo and asked it to dance. Julian Casablancas vocals are notably less edgy and more profound, emulating his sound from his solo album ‘Phrazes for the Young’ it makes the song soar in its multiple choruses. Even better is the guitar solo,allowing it to breathe by lowering the tempo before punching back into a faster rhythm and then once again setting it free for the final chorus. Not to say this has never been done before, just here it sounds refined and refreshing. The guitar riffs are also some of the most hummable I have heard in years, whether this is down to purely the Strokes or the general lack of big rock songs recently is up for discussion but either way, the guitar work is second to none.
Overall, Under Cover of Darkness has me sweating in anticipation for the release of ‘Angles’ on March 22nd. It seems one of the best rock bands to come out of the previous decade has re-emerged from its five year hibernation a much stronger and collected musical force ready to reclaim their rock god thrones. Lets just hope we can give it back to them.
By Adam Starkey