Ten years after their stunning debut Is This It, these rock `n’ roll saviours find themselves eclipsed by lesser acts like Kings of Leon and out-cooled by fresher and smarter newcomers like Vampire Weekend.
What to do? Well regrouping after a series of solo excursions of vastly varying quality, The Strokes sound like they’ve recaptured their mercurial brilliance on the two opening songs on their fourth album. Machu Picchu and Under Cover of Darkness both display a talent for brevity and revel in lovely discursive but very sharp guitar solos.
Similarly Two Kinds of Happiness is effortlessly cool - it marries the cool American new wave of The Cars with the platinum-plated pop of Blondie and Julian Casablancas sounds as langrous as ever. Sadly from this point on Angles is blunted by a kind of agitated ennui which suggests that The Strokes have taken their innate insouciance to its natural conclusion and just given up.
Games is spacey but also listless and Gratisfaction bloats out on the kind of down home boogie that Kings of Leon conquered the world with. Is this it indeed.