There is perhaps no comeback album as discussed as the [artist id="1165302"]Strokes[/artist]‘ Angles, which sees them ending a nearly four-year hiatus and is, depending on whom you choose to listen to, either a welcome return by the garage-rock revivalists or an unnecessary attempt to once again capture lightning in a bottle.
Of course, the songs they’ve slowly been leaking out have only given both sides additional ammo. Supporters like to call first single “Under Cover of Darkness” a solid addition to the band’s canon, while detractors seem to focus on the fact that it just sounds like more of the same. It bears mention that those same detractors point out that the murky “You’re So Right” sounds like too much of a departure, which only serves to further illustrate my point: No matter what the Strokes seem to do this time out, they just can’t win.
So it sort of makes sense that, with their brand-new video for “Darkness,” the band seems content to just make the least Strokes-y video of their entire career. It’s certainly not “You Only Live Once,” which saw the guys re-enacting the “Star Wars” trash-compactor scene, or “12:51,” which reimagined them as the “Tron” house band, but it’s still a departure, a glamorous throwback thing with tongue firmly planted in cheek.
So instead of skintight jeans and stinking leather jackets, this time we see the Strokes decked out in their prom-night finest, wearing tuxes and tails and performing in a grand, gilded ballroom. Under the direction of a conductor, they serve as the de facto orchestra for some society ball, perhaps a nod to their perceived place in the rock-music hierarchy, or maybe just because they felt like wearing bow ties.
And, sure, there’s still plenty of that Strokes swagger: Frontman Julian Casablancas sheds his tuxedo for a pair of shades and some black leather, then spends the majority of the clip belting out lines, either slumped in a plush chair or draped over a mic stand. But for the most part, this is a very muted video, one that signifies not only the Strokes’ return to the land of the living, but their new outlook too: They can’t win, it seems, so they might as well look good when they’re losing.
What do you think of the Strokes’ new video? Share your reviews in the comments!