Review Summary: A F̶i̶n̶e̶ Mess
Upon hearing “Fine Mess” for the first time, I was foolishly caught off guard – aghast by its intensely raw and messy
production. By the time I’d finished the 5-track EP I was damn well convinced A Fine Mess
was, on some level, a kind of esoteric meta-commentary on last year’s album and the 5 songs that were birthed from those sessions for this record. Yes, Marauder
was a somewhat polarizing piece of work; a stripped bare, no-nonsense rock album with a production choice best described as Marmite amongst fan perception. It was an acquired taste, to be sure. That being said, I was on the side of the fence that quite enjoyed the raw nature to a song like “NYSMAW” – as well as the spontaneous and flimsy approach to riffing. It was a style that added a twist to their mainstay sound, succumbing to their punky side and opting for a crude aesthetic over the richly detailed layers of yore. As a collective though, the record isn’t considered to be one of their accolades, so it comes as a bit of a bewildering surprise that A Fine Mess
even exists. There’s just no escaping the grip of these tracks feeling like B-sides. It has its moments of course – the rhythm section is as punchy and alert as ever, holding banality at bay more often than not – but the EP is consumed by this crux entirely.
I’ve never particularly agreed with this raw recording choice for Interpol, I still maintain the notion that El Pintor
’s lush purity works best for them, but at the very least the songwriting for Marauder
was there – it just so happened that the writing style and its production worked with coincidental and synergistic results. Here, the sound just comes across obnoxious and draws the life out of the songs. The vocals on “Fine Mess” are butchered beyond belief, lathered in an odious white-noise effect that actually hurt my ears while I was listening to it. Further frustration dawned on me when I realised the song itself, with a brighter sound, had serious potential. The hallmarks and classic Interpol template are there – the funky bass, poignant guitar passages and cathartic choruses filled with lamenting melodies are buried at the heart of it – but the rough sound does little to represent its prospects. Ultimately, A Fine Mess
is a subpar offering that sounds like you’d imagine it to: a handful of B-sides with varying degrees of enjoyment, made worse by a myriad of problems. Devoted fans should find a meagre portion of redemption here, but to the casual listener this will bring little enjoyment to the table.
FORMAT//EDITIONS: DIGITAL/̶/̶C̶D̶/̶/̶V̶I̶N̶Y̶L̶/̶/̶V̶A̶R̶I̶O̶U̶S̶ ̶B̶U̶N̶D̶L̶E̶S̶
SPECIAL EDITION BONUSES: N/A
ALBUM STREAM//PURCHASE: https://shop.interpolnyc.com/products/a-fine-mess-ep