INTERPOL - ‘INTERPOL’
Published: Music Australia Guide #80, September 2010.
Interpol’s self-titled fourth record is an elusive, accumulative beast. The final chapter in the dapper New Yorkers’ first decade – made all the more pointed by the fact that it will be the last album to feature cult bassist and keyboardist Carlos D., who quit the band at the close of the recording sessions – is a morass of reverb and harmonics, layered orchestration and driving rhythm. Indeed, Interpol doesn’t merely revisit the band’s earlier post-punk and proto-orchestral inquisitions, but meticulously re-imagines and re-integrates the various strands of their sound. The agile bass and drum lines of Summer Well could be straight from the Turn On the Bright Lights (2002) archive. But the devil is in the detail: the sophisticated implementation of keys, wraithlike vocal whispers and compositional nuances take it to entirely different plane. The guitar dialogue and driving rhythmic pulse of the brilliant Barricade, too, recalls Interpol’s early career gestures, only for vocalist Paul Banks to give one of the most heart-torn, vulnerable vocal performances of his career. Indeed, Banks – who has a tendency to sound disengaged – is a revelation on this record. Moments like the funereal, orchestrations of like Always Malaise and the tempestuous slow build of Lights have Banks singing for his life. It’s not always an easy listen, but it a complex and challenging statement of intent. Where Our Love to Admire (2007) witnessed a band struggling to find traction, Interpol seems a search for some sense of resolution. There are more questions than answers, but by its conclusion, Interpol leaves us begging to know just what the hell they’ll do next.