By Nick Manteris · 2 Comments · Leave a Comment
Interpol’s new album – their fourth – is called, simply, Interpol. They claim that this is the album that they’ve wanted to make from the very beginning, because now they are proficient enough with their instruments to capture specific musical ideas. Unfortunately, the Interpol that created this album no longer exists. Their bass player, Carlos Dengler, made a decision to leave the band after the songs for this self-titled album were recorded. How will this affect the band in the future? Well, we can’t worry about that right now… there’s a new album out.
At first listen Interpol seemed like one of those albums that you play about halfway through and then start over. Like MGMT’s debut, the first half seemed a lot stronger than the second. After a couple more times through it became clear that – really – there are only two so-so tracks and the rest of the album is very good, (but not great.) “Always Malaise (The Man I Am)” and “All of the Ways” are the unfortunately mediocre songs. The former sounds “off” tonally and the latter was way too mellow compared to everything else on this album. I can’t really fault either track on its own, but taken in conjuction with the other offerings here, they just don’t measure up. A couple other tidbits of information: “Lights” was the first track released to the public and the video for “Lights” is hypnotic in its strange beauty and weirdness. And: Banks grew up in Spain (and also lived in Mexico for a year) and you can hear him sing a few lines in Spanish on “The Undoing,” the last track of the album.
Years ago, when I asked my livejournal friends for new music, the answer was unequivocally “Interpol.” When I downloaded and listened to a few random songs, though, I wasn’t immediately smitten. I no longer recall which songs they were, and I’m not sure what happened in the years since that initial sampling, but it’s safe to say that I really like Interpol now. Like, a lot.
On past albums, some of their songs have vocal phrases – usually with an extra syllable – that break out of the neat little rhythm-box that lyrics are supposed to live in. There are several examples of this on Our Love To Admire – “No I in Threesome” is the most obvious – and Antics has “Evil,” but the closest analog on Interpol is “Try It On.” Interpol does this better than just about anyone else and, as Julian Plenti, Banks tried some different things musically that seemed to replace this affectation. The absence of cleverly-arranged words is clear on Interpol… and sorely missed.
I thought last year’s Is… Skyscraper from Julian Plenti was better than anything that Interpol had ever recorded, but when I went back to Our Love To Admire for this review, I realized a couple songs had grown on me. Our Love is a much darker and more mellow album, but I’ve rediscovered that I like it better than anything else they’ve recorded. Interpol is a very, very close second place though. I will say this: if even one of these songs grows on me at all, then Interpol will easily become their best. And as far as albums released in 2010 are concerned: it's in the top 3.