Review Summary: Interpol is Interpol is Interpol. And Interpol sucks.
So, in the past year Interpol promised to release an album that recaptures the sound of Turn on the Bright Lights
and subsequently released an album that sounds absolutely nothing
like Turn on the Bright Lights
. Fine. Maybe it’s the bitter Weezer fan in me, but I find that that kind of ‘return-to-form’ jargon is generally unsubstantiated, pre-release hype, so I wasn’t necessarily heartbroken when I discovered Paul Banks’ bleat was as nasally monotonous and irritatingly bright as ever or when I found that a majority of the new songs are kind of shi
tty because that’s just Interpol. Of course their self-titled wouldn’t sound like Turn on the Bright Lights
. Interpol and Turn on the Bright Lights
have become separate entities, independent from each other because it’s just easier to acknowledge the distinction. One likes Turn on the Bright Lights
, but isn’t necessarily a fan of Interpol because, well, Interpol sucks. Interpol
I wish I could muster up the venom to tear this apart or dig into it enough to give it an all-encompassing critical analysis, but either course requires more thought than this record really earns. Sonically it’s about the same as Our Love to Admire
and Julian Plenti is… Skyscraper
, only with enough reverb to turn their generally cool rhythmic ideas into sludge. Banks still is as douchily cryptic as ever, though with less jaw-droppingly awkward sexual lines. Basically, it’s everything you’d expect, but more tame. Interpol are, as always, grim, depressed, “Malaise.” And again, they sound lost. Their songs meander, often hookless extensions of melodic ideas that aren’t that interesting to begin with. “Summer Well” seems to want to justify its existence with tropical flavoring, but Interpol doesn’t do anything with the thought, and similarly, “Try It On” is built off an immediately off-putting piano theme which is twisted and morphed until it eventually stops. Even the best songs, which would probably be “Success,” “Lights,” and “Barricade” are the best because they are built off signature Interpolian post-punk grooves, but they’re hardly developed, and don’t stand up to similar singles of their past.
I don’t want to say they were going through the motions in recording this album because that implies Interpol simply didn’t give a shit
. In reality, I believe Interpol
is the product of the band trying it’s damned hardest to be something, anything, they just have no idea what that is. And so I wonder if the promise of returning to the sound of Turn on the Bright Lights
was actually a weight on the band, a shadow they didn’t want to be under but could not escape from. Interpol wants to recapture the brilliance they knew they had but they also want to grow, try something other than the same fucking
syncopated gloomy bullshi
t they’ve been producing for years. I have this idea that Banks wants to be a bonafide rock star instead of a frontman for an act that is bigger than him, and to his credit, he’s clearly tried to be more vocally adventurous with each new album, but in the end he always reverts back to his monotonous self because that is what Interpol will be forever. They are torn between going back and going forward and instead go nowhere.
By this point it’s fairly common knowledge that the bassist, Carlos D, up till now far and away the best thing about Interpol, left after the recording of this album. I don’t know what they can do moving forward without their heartbeat, but as far as I can tell, they haven’t had one for quite some time.