A few years back, Interpol seemingly could do no wrong with indie fans, but then came the debacle that was Our Love to Admire. It wasn’t an affair many of us remember fondly, but that is all supposed to be in the past now that Interpol, the album, is ready for the streets. While it definitely reverts back to older stylings of the band in its hey-day, it is a record that will force you, once and for all, to get off the fence.
Listening to “Success,” you’ll find those dark rhythmic bass lines and Paul Banks darker vocal effects giving you that personal haunt as guitars ring in the background of the track. However, it comes off as a bit of a lackluster rendition of the band on Turn Off the Bright Lights. Some of the bass work here is super-solid, but the entire sound of the song isn’t entirely new. “Memory Serves” even appears in the same vein, though its execution is far superior to its predecessor. Those stuttering guitar chords dancing on the shoegaze horizon are superb here, and the slower pace allows you to delve deeper into the band’s mood.
“Lights” came out to the masses with a great video accompaniment, portraying the artier side of the band. And while the song, for the most part, is actually a solid effort, it begins to display the same trappings of Interpol trying to revisit their early career. They use similar guitar lines, and nothing is utterly distinguishable from the old band, other than a more polished production value. “Barricade,” for its part, gives a bit of an affront to the audience, using a sort of stuttering guitar line to mix dance grooves with the haunting of Paul Banks. Despite the powerful chorus, it seems forced, and sort of generic in its overall presentation. It’s right about this point that Interpol seems to have sort of blended together, mashing up the grooves of the past with the polish of latter day sins.
At first listen, “Always Malaise” doesn’t appear to be too much. It’s got a tinkering piano that unites Banks with the listener, but it’s the echoing effects in the background that make this song worthy of several run-throughs on your home speaker. Perhaps a sharper guitar would have given it even more of an edge, but you have to appreciate a step into newer ground on this number. And that’s when it all seems to grow a bit cold and ordinary. The creative spark doesn’t survive on the latter half of the album, and you could honestly cut out some tracks to make just a decent EP. Interpol, for all their great work in the past, haven’t come back as strong as you expected after their last falter. Listening to Interpol probably won’t make you hate the band, at least not if you’re an early fan, but it’s not likely to win back those that left, or new fans. It’s an album full of songs you might think about listening to, but probably wouldn’t come back to time and time again. It’s sad, frankly, as I’m looking at the band from the other side of the fence.