Having helped make the world safe again for garage rock on 2001 debut Is This It and its 2003 follow-up, the Strokes seemed to lose their way on 2006 third album First Impressions of Earth.

There, they tried too hard to work outside the twitchy rock'n'roll which propelled their first two albums. And the indifference with which it was greeted has seen the once-feted New York quintet indulging in solo projects for the five years since.

Here, if anything, they've gone even further beyond the trashcan rumble of the first two records.

But it's worked out for the best on a record that has more 80s hooks and echoes than a John Hughes soundtrack.

Or, in the case of reggaefied first track, Machu Picchu, it provides a neat answer to the question: What if Blondie had had a Julian instead of a Debbie?

Likewise, Two Kinds of Happiness initially induces bafflement as the band switch between the pursed-lip New Wave pop of The Cars and the anthemic urges of early U2 in the swing from verse to chorus, while the electronic dancefloor shimmer of Games sounds more like an extension of frontman Julian Casablancas' synthpop-leaning Phrazes For The Young solo album and is a mite out of place here.

But if the Strokes of 10 years on are caught in a bigger, deeper time warp than they've managed before, quite a few things help make Angles largely a terrific record.

Firstly, it's short and over in a curt 10-song 35 minutes. Secondly, while guitarists Albert Hammond Jr and Nick Valensi are a little sidelined on the likes of Games, their effortless taut you-play-that-and-I'll-do-the-high-bit interplay on the likes of Taken For a Fool or the grinding Metabolism shows these young pretenders now actually deserve those early comparisons to the New York art-guitar dons, Television

And thirdly, the songs are really good. Slightly nutty in their stylistic combinations perhaps. But Angles offers plenty of thrills in how it leaps from opening swagger to exuberant choruses on the likes of Under Cover of Darkness and Gratisfaction.

When the melancholy finale Life Is Simple in the Moonlight swoons its last, we have proof, after the failed attempt that was First Impressions of Earth, that eclectic and electric can co-exist on a Strokes record - and make them interesting once again.

Stars: 4/5
Verdict: Fourth album from New York's class of 2001 shows.