Angles (The Strokes album)

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Strokes 1.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 18, 2011
RecordedFebruary–November 2010
The Strokes chronology
First Impressions of Earth
Comedown Machine
Singles from Angles
  1. "Under Cover of Darkness"
    Released: February 11, 2011
  2. "Taken for a Fool"
    Released: July 1, 2011

Angles is the fourth studio album by American rock band the Strokes, released on March 18, 2011 by RCA Records. It was their first album since First Impressions of Earth (2006), marking their longest gap to date between studio albums.


After touring in support of First Impressions of Earth, the Strokes went on an extended hiatus in 2007[1] and then regrouped two years later to begin writing new material for a fourth album.[2] 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 Casablancas.[3] 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.[4]

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."[5] 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".[6]

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.[7]

Musical style[edit]

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".[8] However, the band decided to experiment with various production techniques, including MIDI electronic samples.[9] 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.[9] These included mainly the Roland Juno-106, as well as the MicroKORG XL, a Wurlitzer electric piano, and a Farfisa organ.[9] 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.[9] 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.[9] He also used the machine to achieve a slap‑back echo on the drum track for 'Gratisfaction'.[9] 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".[9]


Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[11]
The A.V. ClubB+[12]
Entertainment WeeklyB−[13]
The Guardian2/5 stars[14]
The Independent3/5 stars[15]
PopMatters6/10 stars[18]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[19]


Media response to Angles was generally favorable; aggregating website Metacritic reports a normalized rating of 71%, based on 41 reviews.[21] 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."[22] 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."[23] Claire Suddath of Time called the album "a 10 song exercise in rock precision,"[24] and Mikael Wood of Spin proclaimed that it "reminds you why they were so irresistible in the first place".[25] Amanda Petrusich of Entertainment Weekly gave the album a B-, describing it as "accordingly fractured and often inscrutable, but (with) returns to form."[26]


Angles entered the Australian albums chart at #1, 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 #4 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[edit]

All music written and arranged by the Strokes.

1."Machu Picchu"3:32
2."Under Cover of Darkness"3:57
3."Two Kinds of Happiness"J. Casablancas[30]3:44
4."You're So Right"
  • J. Casablancas
  • N. Fraiture [31]
5."Taken for a Fool"
  • J. Casablancas
  • F. Moretti
  • N. Valensi[32]
  • J. Casablancas
  • A. Hammond, Jr.
  • N. Valensi[33]
7."Call Me Back"
  • J. Casablancas
  • N. Valensi[34]
  • J. Casablancas
  • F. Moretti
  • N. Valensi[35]
  • J. Casablancas
  • F. Moretti
  • N. Valensi[36]
10."Life Is Simple in the Moonlight"J. Casablancas[37]4:15
Total length:34:27




Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[44] Gold 100,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

As of January 2012 UK sales stand at 120,000 copies according to The Guardian.[45]


  1. ^ "The Strokes to take the year off". May 24, 2007. Retrieved February 20, 2011.
  2. ^ "The Strokes: 'We've started writing our fourth album'". Retrieved February 20, 2011.
  3. ^ "The Return of the Strokes: Inside the Fractious Sessions for Their Fourth Album". Rolling Stone. January 18, 2011. Retrieved March 20, 2011.
  4. ^ "The Strokes begin recording fourth album with U2, Beck producer". 2010-02-03. Retrieved 2012-05-12.
  5. ^ Garrett, Jonathan (March 7, 2011). "This Is It: Ten Years of the Strokes". Archived from the original on March 8, 2011. Retrieved March 20, 2011.
  6. ^ Doyle, Patrick. "22 Things You Learn Hanging Out With Julian Casablancas". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
  7. ^ Yuan, Jada (2009-03-20). "Agyness Deyn and Albert Hammond Jr. Break Up, Remain Friends". Retrieved 2012-05-12.
  8. ^ "The Strokes Confirm Album Release Date - 18 Jan 2011 | Clash Music Latest Breaking Music News". January 18, 2011. Retrieved February 20, 2011.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Gus Oberg: Recording The Strokes' Angles". June 2011. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
  10. ^ "Angles Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Retrieved October 26, 2011.
  11. ^ Heather Phares. "Angles". AllMusic. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
  12. ^ "The Strokes: Angles | Music". The A.V. Club. Retrieved April 10, 2012.
  13. ^ Petrusich, Amanda (March 17, 2011). "Angles (2011)". Retrieved January 22, 2012.
  14. ^ Alexis Petredis (March 17, 2011). "The Strokes: Angles – review". The Guardian. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
  15. ^ Andy Gill (March 18, 2011). "Album: The Strokes, Angles (Rough Trade)". The Independent. London. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
  16. ^ Barry Nicholson (March 16, 2011). "Album Review: The Strokes - Angles (Rough Trade)". NME. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
  17. ^ Ryan Dombal (March 21, 2011). "The Strokes: Angles". Pitchfork. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
  18. ^ Arnold Pan (March 21, 2011). "The Strokes: Angles". PopMatters. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
  19. ^ Fricke, David (March 16, 2011). "The Strokes". Rolling Stone. Retrieved January 22, 2011.
  20. ^ Wood, Mikael (March 6, 2011). "The Strokes 'Angles'". Retrieved January 22, 2012.
  21. ^ "Angles by The Strokes". 2011-03-22. Retrieved 2013-03-23.
  22. ^ "Strokes' New Album 'Angles' is Best Since Their Debut". 2011-03-16. Retrieved 2012-05-12.
  23. ^ "Album Review: The Strokes - Angles (Rough Trade)". 2011-03-16. Retrieved 2012-05-12.
  24. ^ Suddath, Claire (March 21, 2011). "Back Strokes". Time. Retrieved March 31, 2011.
  25. ^ Wood, Mikael (March 6, 2011). "The Strokes, 'Angles'". Retrieved March 31, 2011.
  26. ^ "Angles | Music". 2011-03-17. Retrieved 2012-05-12.
  27. ^
  28. ^ Machu Picchu - ASCAP
  29. ^ Under Cover of Darkness - ASCAP
  30. ^ Two Kinds of Happiness - ASCAP
  31. ^ You're So Right - ASCAP
  32. ^ Taken for a Fool - ASCAP
  33. ^ Games - ASCAP
  34. ^ Call Me Back - ASCAP
  35. ^ Gratisfaction - ASCAP
  36. ^ Metabolism - ASCAP
  37. ^ Life Is Simple in the Moonlight - ASCAP
  38. ^ The Strokes - Angles (RCA Records/Rough Trade Records, 2011)
  39. ^ "Interviews – Rock & Folk April 2011". April 2011. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  40. ^ "The Strokes - Angles - Music Charts". 2011-01-01. Retrieved 2012-05-12.
  41. ^ "Adele's "21" crowned ARIA's highest selling album of 2011 LMFAO takes single honours with "Party Rock Anthem"" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on April 14, 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-12.
  42. ^ Trapara, Nemanja (September 12, 2011). "FIFA 12 soundtrack featuring 39 artists from 15 countries". EA Sports Football. Retrieved October 2, 2011.
  43. ^ "Machu Picchu Promo Single". September 12, 2011. Retrieved June 10, 2015.
  44. ^ "British album certifications – The Strokes – Angles". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Angles in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  45. ^

External links[edit]