Review Summary: One of the most incredible Indie-Rock/pop albums of the Naughties decade, this is where a now almost un-recognisable Interpol started.Disclaimer;
Didn't like my review, thought I'd try again.
Retrospect is an interesting thing, now that we have another Interpol release to reflect on that, like 'Antics', went further away from moody atmospherics in favour of big choruses (although I'm not even sure if I can grant 'Our Love to Admire' even that) it gives us time to reflect on the finer things that we really appreciate. For me, that is definitely this record. It's kind of a sad state of affairs when, your band comes out of nowhere, gets noticed, but not too noticed, and there's people telling you that you could get more noticed, if you started being a bit more conventional.
Now, watch this; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7mdy8f9Yvg
Interpol's first ever live television performance on Letterman, playing the Radio Edit version of 'PDA'. The performance itself is brilliant, awful and interesting at the same time. The nerves were clearly getting to this still very fresh faced band as this was their first push into the limelight. As a result, Paul's vocals are a wreck and there's a couple of off-timed moments, but you can see how the band were being who they wanted to be and how much it means to them (and also Dan K's first attempt at his now trademark dance move)
So, this is the unhinged, unbiased, undeterred Interpol that were doing EXACTLY what they wanted to do; something I don't think they've ever fully been able to re-create since. Why is this a perfect album? Because, every single member of this band contribute something amazing in every single song. They are all, undoubtedly at the top of their respective games here and that alone creates an amazing energy.
So, paint that with the wonderfully inspiring streets and frantic culture of NYC, songs about heartache and yearning, and a general mood and atmosphere that can rival Godspeed You! Black Emperor! (in particular, THAT break in 'PDA' or 'Untitled') and you have one of the most incredible (and unlikely) albums to have come out of this side of the millennia. This is so packed full of catchy, charming lyrics, brilliantly carved and carrying guitar lines, and a rhythm section that is as tight and exciting as a classic Rhythm and Blues act, that you truly have something glorious to behold here. It's not just the moments where Paul Banks moves away from his trademark monotone voice (or whenever Dan chips in) to generate some real emotion, it's witnessing, on record, a band so finely in tune together that they could create nothing but a collection of incredibly tight pop songs that have such a feeling of hope and togetherness that you truly believe anything could happen - The opening 'THWACK' of the snare drum that kicks off 'Obstacle 1' and the album as a whole is one of the most terrifying yet exciting sounds to ever grace a pop song, to which Sam and Carlos, and Paul and Dan respectively interweave guitar hits as well as Sam's and Carlos' wonderful jobs of straying off the rhythm into jam territory, but not so much that it loses the rhythm completely, or the all out, almost aggressive jam at the end of 'The New' after it starts off as quite a minimal and touching song.
This is truly essential listening, but not only listening, it's feeling, too. They're, as already mentioned, subtly technical, but also emotional ('Untitled', 'Stella was a Diver and She was Always Down'), and even occasionally, chirpy ('Say Hello to the Angels', 'Roland') when it is completely nessecary to give this an impressive and impregnable flow and atmosphere and is, truly, an incredible body of work.
As a bassist and a lyricist, I don't think there is an album that has inspired or moved me more than this one. This is by no means my favourite or most important record, but it is a huge influence on me, my bass playing (I play in a Emo band and still Carlos' bass lines are my biggest point of reference) and my lyrics and thoughts. Ignore lazy journalists who just clump this band in with it's obvious 80's, Mostly British influences, this is one of the most refreshing, exciting, passionate and original records I've ever heard, and it should be yours too.