Interpol - El Pintor

by Nathan Fidler Rating:7 Release Date:2014-09-08

Having had great success as one of the indie bands of the 00s, Interpol are the kind of band who we no longer expect to impress us. Their previous effort, Interpol, was the last featuring Carlos Dengler, someone so key to their sound that you’ll be hard-pressed to find a review of this album which doesn’t point out that fact. Yet four years on and there is more intrigue around El Pintor than you might have expected.

One thing is for certain, with Paul Banks and his gloomy delivery, the Interpol train rolls on. For this album, it’s Banks who takes up the bass, and while it may not have the widescreen, cinematic grandeur of Carlos D, it keeps the general sense of things. The game hasn’t changed for the remaining members; ‘All the Rage Back Home’ puts the punch back in proceedings without too much delay, yearning for your attention with the repetition of “Just say you love me”.

If you’re looking for the kind of standout tracks which came from Antics or Our Love to Admire then the album might be a little deflating, but ‘My Blue Supreme’ and ‘Breaker 1’ provide contrasting styles, each with their own unique hook. What this album has is plenty of style and precision; riffs zip in the linear fashion we’re accustomed to hearing from these guys, while Banks’ vocals are, as ever, like listening to your reflection swimming in the water. ‘Ancient Ways’ shows this off best, delivering the message “Fuck the ancient ways” as an opening gambit, challenging your submissive lifestyle.

While some tracks might waft by you, smelling of Interpol but never really grabbing you by the scruff of your neck, ‘Twice As Hard’ lulls you in right at the very end of the album, forcing you to remember why this band were so impressive in the previous decade with its thumping slow-burn.

Interpol, by this album's reckoning, are definitely not over and done with. But, lacking the foreboding urgency of previous efforts, this is an album you might find yourself not clinging to quite as dearly.

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