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The Strokes: Angles (RCA/Rough Trade) 

The Strokes doubled down on rock's eroticism, channeling everything from Beatlemania to '70s-era Cheap Trick to the retro-fantasia of Pacific Northwestern garage like the Kingsmen and the Sonics; then they added a dash of Travolta's Danny Zuko tight-jeaned ass-shakin' for good measure.

In the early '00s, they were post-Sopranos (but pre-Jersey-Shore) Italian stallions, and also a bunch of goddamned floppy-haired, Drew Barrymore-dating, Stax-soul-loving New Yawkehs. Boys and girls collectively sighed and fell back on their beds, rested their feet on their headboards and turned up the stereo.

It's been 10 years now, so we need to be reminded: "Hey, the Strokes are a great band!" Therefore, they've gone ahead and made Angles. It's a substantive finest-hour moment.

"Taken for a Fool" is pure Is This It charm, with all the band's patented moves. But they've got a few new ones as well. "Games" and "Two Kinds of Happiness" are a wash of 1985 new wave.

"Gratisfaction" is vintage Elton John glam euphoria. "You're So Right" affects a dire B-movie sci-fi thrum, with bursts of Squeeze-y glissando. "Metabolism" is a touch post-hardcore, by way of Queen. Through all of this, they never stop sounding like the Strokes.

The album cover is pure '70s power-pop kitsch, perfectly recalling era-appropriate bedroom posters and The Electric Company's animated asides. The best thing that can be said is that Angles does more than make clever references to days of yore. It does that, but also rolls it all into something timeless, not to mention sexy.

More by Sean Bottai

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