Interpol
Turn on the Bright Lights


2.0
poor

Review

by Serpento USER (12 Reviews)
August 11th, 2008 | 120 replies


Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Any listener that spins this album would be more apt to turn off the bright lights as they drift to sleep in its presence.

“Underwhelming” isn’t a term I like to use. For one thing, any number of words can say the same thing without being so specific as to “fail to excite, stimulate, and impress.” Moreover, the word is fairly easy to misuse; just because you already knew that the narrator was Tyler didn't make the book any less enjoyable. The disparity between something not meeting lofty expectations and actually underwhelming you proves as big as the amount of idiots that use irony in lieu of coincidence (thanks, Alanis.) At one point or another, though, every word stumbles upon a situation where it can be attributed to perfectly, and underwhelming is no different. In this case, Interpol’s debut Turn On the Bright Lights does just that: it fails to excite, stimulate, or impress.

The album opens with a few twanging notes that echo over lonely-sounding synth fuzz, emanating a sort of tired floatiness that barely manages to hold up as the sound progresses. It almost hangs in the stratosphere, wanting to be more than it is but not getting enough wind under the proverbial sails to raise it up to that level. A repetitive drum beat nigh shatters that feeling, making itself obnoxiously heard. Underneath it, the rest of the instruments fizzle out, their inebriated air closely following. Such an odd, stiff shift is almost jarring to the listener (which is good in a way, since they’ve probably drifted off by now.) This collective thirty seconds proves a preface to the lack of focus TotBL possesses. Tracks unnaturally bounce between moods, which would be perfectly fine had the album any façade of flow. Unfortunately, peppering half-upbeat songs like Say Hello to the Angels and Obstacle 1 amongst the more prevalent, subdued sound doesn’t work all that well. Opposing melodies can trounce a listener's patience early on, or merely leave them absolutely puzzled once it's all said and done.

Speaking of, the songs that earn the label of “subdued” definitely live up to it. Many tracks feature annoyingly similar aspects, one being the swoopy vocals Paul Banks delivers. Every single track has two settings on which Banks can sing: either he drones the lyrics in Microsoft Sam-style monotone, or decides to sing every other note in an opposing octave, cresting and crashing too much to be considered vocal control. Yet, it is always foremost in the sound, followed closely by whatever instrument is getting its fifteen seconds of spotlight, locking the music within a certain boundary it cannot escape in this state. Guitar licks are usually simple, which surprisingly isn’t that bad. In doing so, they leave room open for some creativity, however scarce it may seem due to the fact that the licks repeat more than is preferred. Bass and drums bear the same symptoms, aside from their often being delegated to the back burner sound-wise. Altogether, this meshes into a sleepy mess reminiscent of post0curtis Joy Division. Said affinity is reserved more for dark, Brothers-Grimm-infused lullabies than than the result of a week-long recording session. So, overly stiff tone-hopping is a syringe, filled with the sedative of boring song structure; the production value pushes the plunger. Almost every sound is abnormally soft at times, except one particular instrument that seems to fluctuate every few seconds. Vocals drown in fuzziness, which only adds to their droning nature (at least it tends to buffer the rise-and-fall style.) In fact, it almost goes to the point of annoyance, like that of a bee's low buzz echoing in one's ear. If not for the tin-can production, the instruments conceivably would not be in such a snafu; one could pick up when a cool bassline comes in or that clever little fill in the middle of song X that gives it charm. What a disappointment it is to think what could have been, if not for so many little things gone wrong with the music.

First impressions never impress everyone. Even the best will be met negatively. To some, Turn on the Bright Lights could be considered an opus of alternative rock and the elusive gem of Interpol’s career. Others will find it a throwaway alternative to a coaster, better suited to balancing cups than assaulting the senses. Tedious at best, TotBL looks for a way to stand and deliver, yet finds itself giving up and settling into the chair of mediocrity.

Now then, excuse me while I look up "objective" in a dictionary.



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user ratings (1628)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of

Comments:Add a Comment 
Serpento
August 11th 2008


2351 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

hai gais im atavanhalen nice to meet uThis Message Edited On 08.11.08

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
August 11th 2008


15737 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

2ic

anyway we've been over how much you fail, i'll just reiterate it here so sputnik knows

you fail

Digging: Ricky Eat Acid - Three Love Songs

taylormemer
August 11th 2008


4917 Comments


Fail.

Myrrhman
August 11th 2008


83 Comments


pretty stupid review

mikem1234
August 11th 2008


108 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Okay, so you didn't like the album. And it rubbed you the wrong way. Therefore, it must be a bad album. Because you know, first impulses are never wrong.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
August 11th 2008


15737 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

he's had the album for like four years ever since I shoved it down his throat

mikem1234
August 11th 2008


108 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is such a case of album-does-not-meet-my-individual-preferences-therefore-it-must-suck. The reasons for why this album gets a 2 are such bullshit, I almost think this was a troll review.....

"Tracks unnaturally bounce between moods, which would be perfectly fine had the album any façade of flow. Unfortunately, peppering half-upbeat songs like Say Hello to the Angels and Obstacle 1 amongst the more prevalent, subdued sound doesn’t work all that well."

Enough said

Photon
August 11th 2008


1292 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

this album is a classic ....stupid review

Myrrhman
August 11th 2008


83 Comments


This is such a case of album-does-not-meet-my-individual-preferences-therefore-it-must-suck.
i believe the scientific term is "opinion"

Mr_Coffee
August 11th 2008


631 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Basslines in this album pretty much kick ass. So drumming. I like this album and the atmosphere it creates while I'm listening to it. What I don't like is this review. Your arguments are just bullshit like the guy above said.This Message Edited On 08.11.08

mikem1234
August 11th 2008


108 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Myrrhman: Yes but I was looking for a roundabout way of saying it.

Mr_Coffee: We must fight back vs. the bullshit disguised as objective analysis type of reviews which seem to find their way on to sputnik.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
August 11th 2008


15737 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

lol

Doppelganger
August 11th 2008


3124 Comments


FIGHT
THE
POWER

AtavanHalen
August 11th 2008


17927 Comments


hai gais im atavanhalen nice to meet u

Shyeah 'cept I like Interpol so bit of a fail there.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
August 11th 2008


15737 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

i think he means he gave a negative review to a well liked album

taylormemer
August 11th 2008


4917 Comments


^^
I thought that couldn't get any more obvious.....

AtavanHalen
August 11th 2008


17927 Comments


I'm not sticking up for the review here, but really; it's better than seeing another one star review for The Crusade or St. Anger or Inhuman Rampage or wotevs.

Serpento
August 11th 2008


2351 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

hey i'm back and I've apparently started a revolution

AH: Learn to take a joke.
Two newbies: Point to where I said I thought the licks were bad.

AtavanHalen
August 11th 2008


17927 Comments


Sorry, dude. I guess I'm kinda paranoid. I feel like people on here hate me more than Tribes since I did that Circle review.

taylormemer
August 11th 2008


4917 Comments


Yeah, I'm sure if they got the change, most sputnik users would like to see you publicly hanged.



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