On their first album in five years, the Strokes get back to what they do best: being the Strokes. In the years between the blah First Impressions of Earth and the nimble new Angles, all five members kept busy with side projects, solo albums, and guest spots. The break did them good. They sound like a revitalized band on most of the album, zipping through 10 songs with the same casual cool that powered their landmark debut a decade ago. Angles starts shaky with the skittering "Machu Picchu." But then "Under Cover of Darkness" kicks in with a blast of Is This It-style guitars and drums. The Strokes sound like a few different bands on Angles, including Thin Lizzy ("Gratisfaction") and any number of modern dance-punks ("You're So Right"). But they're at their best when they sound like the Strokes. — Michael Gallucci
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.