“Slicked back, out of whack/at your best/it’s a nightmare/so I’m joining the army” sings Julian Casablancas on “Under Cover of Darkness,” The Strokes’ first single in five years.
It’s a fairly light song for such a dark title. Upbeat, melodic high-pitched guitars dance in a lockstep rhythm in the intro, and Casablancas comes in singing at the top of his range. Everyone’s firing on all cylinders, from the propulsive rhythm section on up, and there’s even a rare occurrence in The Strokes’ music: vocal harmonies. It’s a party in a bag, and should sound perfect at the summer festivals.
“I’ll wait for you, will you wait for me too?” sings Casablancas, possibly alluding to the band’s long trip down side project boulevard. One interesting lyrical tidbit: “I been all around this town, everybody’s singing the same song for ten years.” Those who hear the classic version of The Strokes on this single aren’t hallucinating. The “I won’t just be a puppet on a string” line before the first chorus echos the melody to “been in town for just about 15 minutes now” from their breakout single “Last Nite.”
The Strokes have always been their own army, a band of brothers who don’t always see eye to eye, but work best as a unit. “Under Cover of Darkness” could be commander Casablancas’ missive to the troops.