Don’t go that way, I’ll wait for you!

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The Strokes – Under Cover Of Darkness

The specifics of the case are simple: days gave way to months and in turn those months borrowed years, and with such time came not a stir from the camp. Inconsistent murmurs the only failing of a vintage bridge of rock silence. Broken attempts and outside projects aside, there was very little to suggest that new Strokes material would ever surface. On Under Cover of Darkness, the first single from March-bound ‘Angles’, Julian’s call of “don’t go that way” could well be the heckling crowd’s cry, balanced only by unfailing willingness to outlive the silence: “I’ll wait for you!”

Under Cover of Darkness is a rainbow pattern of hooks and striking melodies, neither ‘going anywhere’ nor failing with own directed pacing. It’s got that classic Strokes appeal, whereby you’ll want to both sit still to soak it all in and at the same time stretch out to heal the twitch to dance. There are moments where you imagine children in a playpen impressing one another with slashes of zesty guitar notation and then the minutes of retaliation and aural chaos that ensue, one flavourful riff playing chase with the other, freshly hugged by Nikolai’s steadfast bass delivery that not only trips itself up with veering lines of colour, but provides the cushioning platform for Casablancas’ emotive peddling, “I’ve been saying it a million times, but I’ll say it again: so long…”

If you expect the basics of structure then you’ll be lost in this store of verses and choruses – two persuasive choruses, no less – and yes, that is likely to be an ironic salute to Last Nite through the wobbling melody of “I won’t just be a puppet on a string.” Whether by mere accidental fortune or intent, there’s a bird chirp of pinched harmonics that bloods the beginnings of Valensi’s guitar solo, too. It’d be laughable if it weren’t so cool. And where has the fucking guitar solo been these past five years? Did someone forget?

Influences are all too obvious, but usually wrong, so I’ll risk saying you’ll hear Thin Lizzy, Queen, a-ha and possibly some Dexys Midnight Runners (Come On, Eileen) mixed in the pot, but under the guise of a freer band. Loose delivery. And that’s always their aim; to make the complexity of the layers sound easy. This isn’t months of effort. This is jamming. It’s the old Strokes sound for this very moment. Same water with a crisper splash.

And that is surely that. Another rock band has returned. And in the end it is merely music and nothing more. It won’t heal or destroy or quell the world and its sculpting rage, but for some of us it is and remains the catalyst for further great loves in our collective lives. I am in love with this band, and because of this band. Careless, ragged, perfect, and free for joy intake. They are back. It’s glorious. Oh, and expect a b-side on the 15th. [The Strokes. It’s a free download.]

One Response to “Don’t go that way, I’ll wait for you!”

  1. Gena says:

    Dude – this review rocks! I love this song!! And, it was written on my sixteenth birthday. Bravo, good sir.

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