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Interpol
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  • Turn On The Bright Lights,
  • Antics,
  • Our Love To Admire,


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  • Adrian's Album Reviews |

    Interpol

    turn on the bright lights antics our love to admire

    Turn On The Bright Lights 8 ( 2002 )
    Untitled / Obstacle / NYC / PDA / Say Hello To The Angels / Hands Away / Obstacle 2 / Stella Was A Driver / Roland / The New / Leif Erikson

    They look like Joy Division and sound a little like Joy Division. They also sound like pre dance New Order, and that comparison is actually more accurate than the Joy Division comparison. In order to 'sound' like Joy Division, you need an Ian Curtis. Interpol don't have an Ian Curtis and generally don't have the same sense of impending doom surrounding them that Joy Division had. They don't have the instrumental power that Joy Division had, but they do have the instrumental power of the first New Order album.... That's not too hard a thing to attempt to do, actually. The thing is, forget all of this crap. Yeah, Interpol are obviously huge Joy Divison fans, but nobody else is trying to be a Joy Division for the 21st century, so why not Interpol? Why not, indeed. And! A funny thing. You know sometimes when you've listened to an album maybe a dozen or more times, and then somebody else comes along and points out something to you about one of the songs... that you'd never noticed before? Yet, it suddenly becomes so blindingly obvious, that you bang your head against a wall? Song five here doesn't only borrow from the sound of Joy Division, it also borrows from the sound of The Smiths, circa 'Meat Is Murder'. The guitars ring in the same fashion and the bass-line is vaguely reminiscent of The Smiths. The vocal, the entire song actually - is fairly 'bouncy'. Well, in an Interpol 'none more black' kind of way, even though.... when i've seen them speak, interviewed. When i've actually seen their faces... there is no shock or fear in their eyes. There is no darkness in their souls. You can't see that in them when they perform live. This isn't real... this is just Interpol playing ( pretty well, though ) at capturing different aspects of their own favourite bands.

    Still, they do it well. Very well. Pick of the bunch for me is 'Hands Away' which wouldn't have sounded out of place on the first New Order album. Indeed, it would have been a shining highlight and probably the best thing there. The keyboard melodies and the 'texture' of the song is just right. The low vocals rising to loud intensity as the music rises to match is just right. Interpol, based on this evidence, can become a very special band indeed. 'NYC' is another great track, another genuinely great track, originality or no originality. When the material is good, anything the group have 'borrowed' ceases to matter. 'NYC' builds up mid-tempo and the vocals and lyrics capture you with their sound. The album is well recorded, and actually, every single song here is enjoyable. A fine debut.

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    Readers Comments

    James Leicester james_leicester@hotmail.com
    I absolutely love this album. I wish people would not constantly mention Joy Division when reviewing Interpol. Sure, their singer has a certain Ian Curtis-esque baritone voice, but apart from that I think its a lazy comparison. My favourite part of the album would have to be the awsome outro for 'PDA', the way the guitar, bass and keyboard parts come in over the top of each other and simply soar. There are some really beautiful moments, the way the guitar comes crashing in for the second time about half way through 'The New'. It sounds like what I'd expect a supernova to sound like. I'd give this album more than 8, and in a rock scene dominated by rubbish retro dad-rock, this makes a refershing change.

    Simon B slb23@shaw.ca
    A friend of mine lent me this album the a week ago. I read reviews saying that the singer sounded like Ian Curtis from Joy Division. And that their sound was similar. They are right. The singer DOES sound like Ian Curtis, and they treat the drums as a lead instrument, like Joy Division did. Anyway, this is a pretty good record. The guitars are shimmering yet stabbing, the drums are complicated yet stable, and the vocals are somber yet frantic. And the lyrics are sometimes ambiguous/baffling ("The subway is a porno"), and disturbing ("You'll go stabbing yourself in the neck"). A pretty good record, this one is. Best songs: "Untitled", "Obstacle 1", "NYC", "Say Hello To The Angels", "Obstacle 2", and "Stella Was A Driver and She Was Always Down" 7.5/10

    Chris Jones letskillpopstars@hotmail.com
    This album was the best of 2002 in my opinion. It's just stunning - great songs and stupendous production. It just sounds perfect. You're right about the outro to PDA - that's my favourite song on the album. It also has a perfect opener in Untitled and a perfect closer in Leif Erikson - the calm after the storm of the previous three songs. Yeah, they sound a bit like JD and The Smiths, but when the material is this good, who cares? 9/10

    Stephen Jones smj@nocirr.com
    Anytime that a band lifts the sound of another band they're going to be reviewed a million times that they sound like that band. The one major thing that Interpol have going for them is the fact that their album sounds like the NEXT Joy Division album. I am a big Joy Division fan and have been for years, so when I heard Interpol it was very hard for me to not think of Joy Division .. Infact, if I listen to the album while I'm doing other things I feel almost like I'm listening to Joy Division and when I realise that, then I laugh. The problem is it never goes deep enough .. almost .. maybe next time they'll do it better ;-) But yeh, smiths in there too .. and its good that someone is at least TRYING to make much that was as good as Joy Division.

    spartacus weaselsrippedmydrums@yahoo.com
    when i picked up this album, i had only heard 2 songs by them...obstacle 2, and a song (i forget which one) on david letterman. when i listened to it, it totally took over my cd player. i couldnt put it away. the singers voice really reminded me of ian curtis from joy division, and i absolutely loved that. songs like pda and say hello to angels ruled the first half of the album, and the new, roland, stella was a diver, and obstacle 2 dominated the second half. i garuntee this will become part of my top 10 albums extremely soon.

    Ian idd1@geneseo.org
    The Joy Division/Interpol comparison that people are always so keen to make is totally bogus. Apparently only one of the bandmembers (the bassist) listens to Joy Division.

    Steven stevenijs@hotmail.com
    What's all this rubbish about Interpol sounding like Joy Division, it's all hyped up by media comics like MNE. If you dissect any modern band you are going to get similar voices and rifts from previous bands. I can also hear bits of The Cure, Slowdive, Placebo and even Icehouse (Bet you no one remembers them!) but I wouldn't say Interpol sounded like any of them or Joy Division or New Order (Movement). Interpol are an original sounding modern band and I think this is the best album of the noughties by miles. Franz who....

    Sean Kelly super_vinyl@hotmail.co.uk
    This album really is a damn good jobsworth of music. Best part being (for me at least) either the outro from PDA or the freakishly sinistar Glisando bass in the impressionistic chromaticism of Roland. To compare Interpol with Joy Division just the easy way of referring a fan to a new sounding band, i hate it, the only thing that is close to comparison is the vocals, and witht he lead singer being around in the time that he was i.e. New Wave taking effect in the music world, its no surprise his voice has shaped this way.


    top of page Antics 7 ( 2004 )
    Next Exit / Evil / Narc / Take You On A Cruise / Slow Hands / Not Even Jail / Public Pervert / C'mere / Length Of Love / A Time To Be So Small

    Interpol show just enough signs of progression here for at least a minority to be able to shrug off those Joy Division comparisons. Well, Interpol remain derivitive of any number of bands, but given time, will no doubt forge their own identity just by sticking around long enough. Well, i'm giving them the benefit of the doubt. 'Antics' is another good album by them, pretty solid without ever rising to magical heights. Let me give you an example. Two of my favourite bands are The Byrds and Joy Division. Focusing on the former, The Byrds were never particularly great musicians during their early classic era, yet sometimes, would be able to just hit something utterly transcendant in the studio. I'm thinking of the likes of the break during 'Turn Turn Turn', the entire 'Eight Miles High'. Although Interpol have come very close on a couple of numbers here, you never get the sense that anything here is anything other than studied. Anything which shows different influences to those on the debut, seems to be deliberately that way rather than developing naturally. Perhaps i'm being harsh and Interpol just have a press and image problem? Still, Pete Doherty of The Libertines and Babyshambles fame? His music is how it is because we know the guy is in trouble and has trouble. It comes through in the music. Interpol all seem like nice, happy guys for whom being in a band is something they enjoy, yes. But also, something of a career. It's the curse of being around in these modern, media savvy times. New bands have it more difficult to carve out a niche for themselves. Sometimes though, it would be nice if they even tried to do so in the first place!

    My favourite tunes here? I like 'Take You On A Cruise', it sounds suitably doomy in the best way. A very atmospheric tune. This is balanced out by the likes of the superb 'Evil', which very nearly resembles a pop song. It's got a sparkling chorus, for one. Maybe for the next Interpol outing they should lighten up their music and prove to everybody once and for all they are good tunesmiths without all the distractions their music and image sometimes provides a listener with. Anyway, 'Narc' is another decent tune, 'Slow Hands' an effective rocker with harder hitting vocals, drums and guitar. The second half of the album, the great 'Not Even Jail' with its propulsive bass lines apart, rather disappoints. I begin to lose track of where I am in the album and begin to lose interest. Dispite a few attempts at varying the sound, the tone of the guitars and vocals in particular remains the same throughout. Over a stretch of material inferior to the occasional pop delights contained on the first half, it just really does begin to lose your interest. Still, as I said, this is a good album. As I said, I like to give Interpol the benefit of the doubt and really hope that with their third album they can really give us something genuinely distinctive and take off and fly as a group. Otherwise, they may just find themselves receiving ever diminishing rewards.

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    Readers Comments

    Dan dperris@laingorourke.com
    I recently started listening to Interpol after borrowing a copy of Antics from a friend. It wasn't imediate for me,.. but after a few days I started to really get into it. Narc and Evil are immense tunes! I went back and bought me'self a copy of 'Turn on the bright lights'... which I like too (Especially NYC) although I think Antics is the better of the two. Best band in the USA just now for me! 9/10

    derek derr@aol.com
    sorry ladies and gents i think this is a very bland album, evil and narc are ok but the rest is instanly forgettable, i dont like heavy music and would rather listen to interpol than many bands, but this is a boring album, approach with extreme caution 4/10 after many listens

    Chris chrisfret2004@yahoo.co.uk
    Come on!This album is really very impressive, surely noone can argue with that. ok theyre a little 'dark' and borrow abit from joy division and blah blah fuckin blah,but that cannot detract from the sheer majesty of their performance and strength of songwriting.just check out the gorgeous opener 'next exit' for a prime example!only one weak track on the whole thing (length of love) and thats not too bad!at least 9/10.

    Colin marstravolta@hotmail.com
    A great album. But definetly starts to flow together after about track 5. And thats not always a bad thing, i can see an ongoing concept of imprisonment and the prison system in interpols lyrics, even stuff from the EPs. Anyhow, i cant beleive nobody has mentioned the opening track "Next Exit" come on.... killer stuff. Also nobody has referenced their obvious Doors influence. Anyhow 7/10

    Yoeri Hostie
    Not convinced. I think a band needs more then a soundlike Joy division image to make music. I'm sorry for all the interpol fans but maybe listen to Joy Division first and then put on antics and you'll notice yourself this is not what you call being creative

    Howard So Cal
    I obviously have the benefit of time....and since it is apparent to me that when I fall for a song; I may not get to hear the complete album for years. This is such an example. Evil was so powerful for me; it took me a good 5 more years to get to 'C'Mere'....... Now I have enjoyed and really liked these guys from when they first made their mark with 'Turn On........'.But; love being what it is.....C'Mere is my second favorite song of all time....and I started listening to rock with The Beatles and The Four Seasons. I am not a musician.....but when it comes to my passion about music.....there is no equal....no doubt. That song has so many turns with power passion and heart.......joyfully overwhelming


    top of page Our Love To Admire 6 ( 2007 )
    Pioneer To The Falls / No 1 In Threesome / The Scale / The Heinrich Maneuver / Mammoth / Pace Is The Trick / All Fired Up / Rest My Chemistry / Who Do You Think / Wrecking Ball / The Lighthouse

    Interpol return after three years away to discover British band The Editors have stolen their act. No matter, Interpol resolutely stick to what they know - doomy, atmospheric, Joy Division post rock influenced indie-pop. The metacritic site, which collates reviews from all over the net, then transforms the scores into scores out of 100 has Interpol's third album varying from as low as 25/100 to as high as 100/100, surely some indicator that Interpol perhaps appeal to who they appeal to without breaking through to anybody else. As it is for 'Our Love To Admire', this is an album unlikely to increase the Interpol fanbase, it simply doesn't reach out into any areas the band haven't already covered. Thus is opener is slow and atmospheric, the singers voice continues to sound a distant cousin to Ian Curtis and the rhythm section continue to show a lack of invention. The guitars are layered on thick, a murky stream of dark matter. The album takes time to get going, to be fair, but repeated listens certainly solidify the first three songs together, to create something reasonably impressive, particularly 'The Scale'. 'The Heinrich Manoever' is a particularly intense rock song that no doubt will especially shine in the live arena, yet four songs in and 'Our Love To Admire' simply seems to insular for its own good. Interpol have apparently restricted themselves to a narrow, stifling corridoor in which to work within.

    After the fine 'Mammoth', 'Our Love To Admire' simply loses its way, not so much for the fact the remaining songs are a lot worse than the first five, more that it's just more of the same. 'Our Love To Admire' is so one dimensional that it hurts. No changes in guitar sound, a few different tempos, no changes in the vocal approach from one song to another. Without being neccessarily bad, the album just becomes a struggle to listen to. Talk about ever decreasing circles, 'Who Do You Think' and 'Rest My Chemistry' for instance are perfectly fine if taken in isolation, yet by the time they appear on the album, you want to remove your ears or listen to something that isn't just an attempt to bludgeon you about the head for an hour. The one attempt at something different, the quietish 'Wrecking Ball' is too little too late, its faint echo of Spector type production not enough. The guitar tone and the vocal tone is exactly the same as everywhere else, you see. The closing 'The Lighthouse' opens with echoed vocals and ringing guitars, not much seems to happen for five minutes. Interpol running out of ideas? Quite possibly. Let's look at it this way. This is a well-produced and performed album of the modern era, but what is it trying to say? What is the actual...... point of it?

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    Readers Comments

    darren.smith d.smith910@ntlworld.com
    I think youve got this album all wrong its absolutely delicious to listen to a fine blend of atmospheric guitars and vocals, it blows the socks off the bland indie nonsense thats emerging from the u.k month in month out. I dont think any band can ever be criticised for staying true to their roots, and interpol seem happy to keep it that way even if this means sacrificing global domination, listen to them for what they are and you will not be dissapointed with this album


    top of page this page last updated 22/4/12


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