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Album Review: Interpol

posted Mar 25, 2011, 9:50 PM by Golden Knight

By Christian Romo

9/19/2010

               One of the main attractions of Interpol’s sound is its tight composition, and though the current music scene shows that every band’s level of sadness seems the same, Interpol makes its darkness sound professional. There is always a comparison to 80’s alt icons Joy Division when referring to the band, but I see them as more of a complement to Death Cab for Cutie’s sound. Lead singer Paul Banks sings in a chilling monotone whose depressing yang works in harmony with Ben Gibbard’s melancholic yin.

                Their previous album Our Love to Admire was one of the best releases of 2007 and would be understandably difficult to follow up. With their fourth release, their self-titled new album, the band takes a shift in perspective and a dip in delivery.

                The opening track “Success” says two things about Banks. First, he got what he originally wanted, whatever that may be. Second, he’s not too happy about it for whatever reason. “Summer Well” tries to pick up the dragging opening but comes off as an inferior attempt of their previous hit “Slow Hands”.

                Banks tries to present himself as more experienced and mature, but throughout the album he sounds bitter and controlling. During their first single “Lights”, Banks sings “that’s why I hold you” as if he was threateningly explaining something to a child. “All of the Ways” has a stellar intro, but the mood gets creepy when during the chorus Banks proclaims, “I know the ways you will make it up to me”.

                There are signs of quality throughout the album, however. “Barricade” is among the best songs they’ve ever done, starting off with a wicked bass line and a hooky kick drum. Bank’s lyrics sound fresh and compelling as he cries, “thieves and snakes need homes”. “Barricade” is one of the few examples where his brooding vocals shine as the album is filled with a reverb that disappointingly muffles his voice.

                Great bands shouldn’t be expected to put out hit albums with every release. It’s obvious that Interpol is trying to advance their sound while sticking to the foundations of what made them great, but this album just isn’t enjoyable to listen to. C-

Songs to Listen to: “Success”, “Barricade”, “Safe Without”, “The Undoing”

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