Track Reviews — 2/10/11

The Strokes
‘Under Cover Of Darkness’
RCA

It’s been 10 years since the Strokes released their critically acclaimed debut Is This It? and another five since their last record, First Impressions Of Earth. Now lead single “Under Cover of Darkness” offers a glimpse at the band’s long-awaited comeback Angles, slated for release this March.

The track manages to sound like classic Strokes material and their more recent experiments all at once. From the caustic guitar battle introduction between Nick Valensi and Albert Hammond Jr. to singer Julian Casablanca’s climactic pleas, the song is an exhibition of all the Strokes’ sonic ambitions over the past decade.

It may not be the Strokes’ most memorable or original effort, but “Under Cover of Darkness” does deliver promising hooks that will draw fans back for repeated listens. As lyrical punctuation, Casablanca asks over and over, “Will you wait for me?” If the past week’s online frenzy over the track’s release is any indication, it seems the man’s got his answer. (8/10)

—Taylor Hogshead

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
‘Belong’
Slumberland

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart refuse to grow up. They want to be teens of the ’80s forever, packing cutesy, New Wave nostalgia into each release.

So the second single and title track from their upcoming LP Belong is no detour from the trend. Like the band’s past work has done so well, the track brings a pop sensibility to emo-kid influences a la My Bloody Valentine and the Jesus and Mary Chain.

With an abundance of distorted guitars and hazy production, “Belong” may be the biggest anthem they’ve released yet. At certain points, the band breaches ’90s alt-rock territory, especially on the chorus (think Smashing Pumpkins meets the Cranberries).

While they’re broadening their sound, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart stick to what they know best, holding on to their trademark sugary sound, even when they’re playing musical dress-up. “Belong” is not the catchiest song in the band’s repertoire, but as far as charming indie pop goes, it’s still worth a listen. (7/10)

—Taylor Hogshead

More to Discover
Donate to The UCSD Guardian
$210
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

Donate to The UCSD Guardian
$210
$500
Contributed
Our Goal