Status-Out as of 2010
4th Studio Album
Interpol was one of the many bands that fell victim to what I like to call 3rd album syndrome: the first two albums are fantastic, but the third album is just a monotonous wreck. That description fits their 2007 album, Our Love to Admire, like a glove. After three years off, Interpol have returned to redeem themselves with their fourth effort entitled Interpol, announcing that they were going back to basics and returning to a sound more like their mega-hit debut Turn on the Bright Lights. With a statement like that, the expectations are very high.
“Success” starts off the album in the same dramatic way Interpol start off most of their albums: prominent, striking guitar that soon gets underpinned by thick drumming. One thing is for certain: this song is wonderfully epic and they “have succeeded” in leaving you desperately wanting to hear more. These desires die pretty quickly into “Memory Serves”. It starts out a little slow, and it builds nicely for the chorus with perfectly drone-y guitar, but then it occurs to you that the song isn’t really going anywhere and becomes very tedious. The only thing that makes it interesting is Paul Bank’s terrible “Ooooh la la la” backing vocals. “Summer Well” restores the lost desire, starting off with a thumping bass line and piano very reminiscent of Muse’s “New Born”. It quickly kicks up, the vocals intensify, and the guitar comes crashing. It’s not particularly catchy, but that doesn’t take away the fact that it is a great song. “Lights” represents all the pretentiousness and grandeur Interpol have become stereotyped as having, but in the most glorious way possible. It’s the most wonderfully dramatic, affected, raw composition that they have ever conceived. It will move you to cry out, “that is why I hold you here” right along with them. “Barricade” is equally glorious. It possesses the joys of “Slow Hands” and “The Heinrich Maneuver”, but sounds like it could have easily been from their debut. If “Lights” didn’t get you wound up, then you will definitely be shouting “It starts to feel like a barricade to keep us away, it kinda does”. “Always Malaise (The Man I Am)” is a little awkward. It starts out fairly dramatically, and it builds to the point where you think, “Yes! YES!”. But then, it just anticlimaxes and gets weird. The instrumentation is okay, but the extremely creepy double-tracked vocals really destroy the song and obliterate any hope of you liking it. “Safe Without” is just as bad, but in an unoriginal way. The vocals sound very typical to the album, and the guitar riff sounds very generic, but more importantly, very not-Interpol. The added orchestration really just sounds stupid and makes it clear that they were trying a little too hard. “Try It On” sounds nothing like Interpol, which ends up working brilliantly. The main instrument is a piano and there is whistling, both of which are a complete first for them. The drumming is very syncopated, which fits the aura perfectly. The Julian Plenti influence is very prevalent, but I applaud them for finally innovating and expanding their sound. “The Undoing” closes the album with a dark, yet bittersweet sound. The guitar is similar to their usual closers, but the gloomy atmospheric sound along with the use of Spanish during the verses closes this dramatically grandiose album the best way they possibly could.
From start to finish, Interpol was non-stop overt drama. Every song was interesting to listen to, but most were almost too hard to grasp. Unlike their last album, they managed to make every song interesting, but they still failed to diversify their sound. The songs that stood out, like “Lights”, “Barricade”, and “ Try It On”, offered something new to the listener, whereas the others all followed the same tedious formula. As a whole, Interpol was a good attempt at redemption, but it generally failed to meet expectations. Interpol have come a long way, and I know that they will only continue to renew themselves, but that time isn’t now.
"We don't write for that purpose. But there's such a thing as a perfect song, and one day I would like to write one perfect song."-Paul Banks
Video for Barricade
Recommendations: Lights, Summer Well, Barricade
Interpol's Official Website
N ote: YAAAAAAAAAAY! I WROTE A REVIEW I WROTE A REVIEW! How immature. Okay, I hope any and all of you read this and I would love to hear your feedback. I allow anonymous comments, so everyone can respond. I also publish all comments, except for clear spam. So, thank you everyone. I really appreciate it!