Their future may be uncertain, but Interpol’s fourth LP is a satisfying listen for now.
Ian Wade 2010-09-09
Interpol, in their own way, have had an osmosis effect on the UK in the eight years since they came to attention with 2002 debut Turn on the Bright Lights, during a period that historians have now come to refer as "the post-Strokes era". They’ve gone on to quietly sell over a million albums in their native US, and even charted at number two here with their previous album, 2007’s Our Love to Admire. Surely a sign that their stealth approach had paid off, and the world was theirs on a plate.
When the band announced this album, their fourth, via the online release of Lights, they also mentioned the departure of founding bassist Carlos Dengler – he does play on the album, though. For many, his unique look was the identifiable aesthetic hook of the band, and you can’t help but think something’s been lost with his leaving. Add to that the recent cancellation of tour supporting U2, after Bono hurt his back, and there’s distinct feeling that momentum may’ve been lost.
Which is a shame, as Interpol the album is very good indeed. The band’s knack for sounding icily detached, with Paul Bank’s clinical cynicism of a delivery always to the fore, betrays a permeating warmth that was missing from Our Love to Admire. While the two lead-off tracks, Lights and Barricade, may seem a bit by numbers for long-time fans, repeated plays, especially in the context of the full album, pay dividends. These fit perfectly among the other eight numbers, highlights of which include Summer Well and the closing trio of the piano-lead Try It On, the strafing gazery of All of the Ways, and elegant closer The Undoing.
There’s still the chance that this album will finally push them into the stratosphere – you wish Interpol were globally huge, you really do – although it’s likely that their future won’t be written until after Dengler’s tour-replacements have helped broaden the band’s palette more. Until then, this album will help illuminate those dark corners sufficiently.
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