How does a band return from a five-year recording hiatus without any lasting effects? How can a group of musicians possibly live up to years of hype and speculation after producing a body of work that spans only three albums? Though no one claims it’s easy — and time off frequently brings out the worst in an act — The Strokes have executed their return to rock effortlessly with just one well timed single.

The Strokes

“Under Cover of Darkness”

“Under Cover of Darkness” is the best that singer Julian Casablancas could have hoped for. Beginning with dueling guitars and an upbeat tempo, the track is contagiously catchy even before it hits the chorus. Casablancas’s voice is as impeccable as ever, but he’s added even more lyrical depth. Only once does any line repeat (in the third iteration of the chorus), and attentive listeners will be rewarded with the depth of emotion expressed throughout the song.

Essentially, The Strokes’ latest release tells a story. Deciphering the plot requires multiple listens, but at its simplest, Casablancas narrates a tale of the wistfulness that comes with waiting. Now, finally, for both the band and for Strokes fans worldwide, that wistfulness has been replaced with eager anticipation for more.

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