"Interpol" by Interpol

Interpol
Interpol

Matador Records
2010



Review

Listen. I love Interpol. At least, I've loved "Antics", "Our Love To Admire", and "Turn On The Bright Lights". LOVED THEM (yes, all caps, and I am shouting). But their latest I did not love as much. In fact, The National put out an amazing album that this one should have been able to stand up to. Alas, this was not to be.

Look, we pay for our music at Sonink. Cash money. While the rest of the internets are on a downloading craze, we PAY for this stuff. So you see a lot of favorable reviews here. And OF COURSE you do. It's because there's no reason for me to buy something from an artist that I really am just not going to be into. Well, I'm here to tell you flat out: I am into Interpol. Seriously. I have got love for them mofos. In fact, I love the whole style of music that they represent. I don't know what the hell to call it! You know what I'm talking about...serious guitars and basslines that remind you of something sad while a baritone-singer belts out some lyrics that your mind has to squint to understand. You know, bands like Interpol, The Editors, and The National. Hell, The XX stole that playbook as well, but they mixed in a male/female singer combination somewhere between Sonic Youth and The Subways - and believe you me, I loved that as well. But this? Well, if the last Roots album was all about Focus (capital 'F') this Interpol offering is all about the opposite of that.

Nothing demonstrates this lack of focus more than "All The Ways", "The Undoing", and "Always Malaise". These songs are like songs waiting to start. They don't GO anywhere. They just ramble on. There's no hook to them, no catchy bassline, no twangy guitars. It all just sort of fizzles. I think these would make fine jam sessions to build upon, but instead, these end up being like some of my less-than-steller reviews. Like it's 2am and none of the other Sonink Contributors have published anything in weeks and I'm feeling antsy so I just push "publish" on draft 1. That's what MOST of this album feels like, and normally it's just Interpol's music that makes me sad, but the few tracks that are good make me even sadder.

"Try It On", "Summer Well", and "Lights" are not bad songs. They are more in the vein of what you would expect from Interpol. But "Barricade" is awesome. I think it's because the band is leading with the bass. When the bassline is all-right, it sets the whole song right. The lyrics here are as strange as ever:

I did not take to analysis so I had to make up mind
and hold it for a while
I would not just leave you without a kiss
but I guess there just must come a time when
there's no more tears to cry

...it's the Interpol chorus that you just sort of sing even though it's sort of odd.

So this album is not for the casual fan. It's for the super-fan completionist who's gotta catch em all like musical Pokemon. Peep that Barricade joint, and skim the rest. Sorry lads, but The National ate your lunch this year.

3.200 out of 5

Track Ratings

1. Success (03:28) 3
2. Memory Serves (05:03) 3
3. Summer Well (04:05) 4
4. Lights (05:38) 4
5. Barricade (04:11) 5
6. Always Malaise (The Man I Am) (04:15) 2
7. Safe Without (04:41) 3
8. Try It On (03:42) 4
9. All of the Ways (05:18) 2
10. The Undoing (05:11) 2