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Guest Steven Dedalus

The New Interpol album

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Guest Steven Dedalus

I know there's been a bit of discussion about this elsewhere, but I thought it warrants a good hard look.

I've just sat down and digested the new album, and after having a think about it, I've decided it's a bit of a dissapointment. I stress that I don't think it's a bad album in any way, but it dosen't offer much in the way of surprises. I played it to someone who had never heard them before, and they described them as being "pretty good background music", which is a comment I'm having trouble disagreeing with.

My central point about it is that almost every track would sound equally at home on either of the previous albums. Which, if you've just reached album No 3, is not a good thing. They seem to be stuck in a bit of a groove, and don't know (or may be incapable of) how to progress. It's the same sounds, the same melodies, and the same arrangements.

As I mentioned elsewhere (possibly), if this was the first one, you might be inclined to say it's pretty darn good, which it is. But if you've heard the other two, there's just an overwhelming sense of deja vu.

I think part of the problem is that they are very limited melodically, and it lends everything a very over-familiar feeling. Interpol are very fond of their "emotional crescendos" and they over-use them in most of the songs here. Also, when "The Heinrich Manouver" started up, I actually thought it was "Slow Hands".

On the good side, "Mammoth", "All Fired Up" and "Rest My Chemistry" are fairly solid and impressive, suggesting new directions to go in. In fact, the second half of the album is much stronger than the first and offers a sense of hope for the future.

What bugs me, deep down, is that when they first appeared, Interpol were a pretty tasty distillation of Joy Division, the Cure, Echo and the Bunnymen, etc, all the bands I like, etc. But all those bands showed a willingness to experiment and evolve beyone their initial concept, and Interpol seem to be showing a steadfast desire to remain the same. That natural evolution of the bands mentioned above is a central part of their appeal, and whilst Interpol are undeniably cut from the same cloth, they seemed to have missed a vital part of what made those bands tick.

I'm giving it three out of five, if anyone cares.

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I know there's been a bit of discussion about this elsewhere, but I thought it warrants a good hard look.

I've just sat down and digested the new album, and after having a think about it, I've decided it's a bit of a dissapointment. I stress that I don't think it's a bad album in any way, but it dosen't offer much in the way of surprises. I played it to someone who had never heard them before, and they described them as being "pretty good background music", which is a comment I'm having trouble disagreeing with.

My central point about it is that almost every track would sound equally at home on either of the previous albums. Which, if you've just reached album No 3, is not a good thing. They seem to be stuck in a bit of a groove, and don't know (or may be incapable of) how to progress. It's the same sounds, the same melodies, and the same arrangements.

As I mentioned elsewhere (possibly), if this was the first one, you might be inclined to say it's pretty darn good, which it is. But if you've heard the other two, there's just an overwhelming sense of deja vu.

I think part of the problem is that they are very limited melodically, and it lends everything a very over-familiar feeling. Interpol are very fond of their "emotional crescendos" and they over-use them in most of the songs here. Also, when "The Heinrich Manouver" started up, I actually thought it was "Slow Hands".

On the good side, "Mammoth", "All Fired Up" and "Rest My Chemistry" are fairly solid and impressive, suggesting new directions to go in. In fact, the second half of the album is much stronger than the first and offers a sense of hope for the future.

What bugs me, deep down, is that when they first appeared, Interpol were a pretty tasty distillation of Joy Division, the Cure, Echo and the Bunnymen, etc, all the bands I like, etc. But all those bands showed a willingness to experiment and evolve beyone their initial concept, and Interpol seem to be showing a steadfast desire to remain the same. That natural evolution of the bands mentioned above is a central part of their appeal, and whilst Interpol are undeniably cut from the same cloth, they seemed to have missed a vital part of what made those bands tick.

I'm giving it three out of five, if anyone cares.

quite an intellegent take on the new album Id say. My perspective is slightly more positive. Surely a bands signature sound is essential to their identity...and theres certainly a lot of that going on with Interpol. I found Antics to be such a surprise, it really is quite distinct from TOTBL. So as far as the new album goes Im neither blown away nor disapointed. Its slightly watered down in parts I feel. but I think "Pioneer to the Falls" is the exact opposite of anything I would call watered down. It is more "Interpol" than any of their other stuff Iv heard. When I first heard it I thought..."This is really the kind of thing Iv always hoped for from them . as is The Lighthouse.

Id give it 4 out of 5.

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Guest bluesxman

I know I am arguing with a brick wall here ;) but...I personally think each album has maintained their 'sound' while also progressing from their first album's obvious debt to Joy Division.

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when i heard "the heinrich maneuvre" even before the entire album i had the very same notion: this isn't exactly new interpol.

but i think it might be a grower.

i even think the 2nd album is my favourite interpol album. it was far more accessible than the first.

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Guest Steven Dedalus
I know I am arguing with a brick wall here ;) but...I personally think each album has maintained their 'sound' while also progressing from their first album's obvious debt to Joy Division.

You know me!!!

Yr true in what you say, but wouldn't it be nice if they'd moved beyone their 'roots'?

I mean, I couldn't really imagine Joy Division sounding like Joy Division after three albums.

Once again, I think the new album is pretty nifty, but a real let down in terms of what could have been

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Guest bluesxman
You know me!!!

Yr true in what you say, but wouldn't it be nice if they'd moved beyone their 'roots'?

I mean, I couldn't really imagine Joy Division sounding like Joy Division after three albums.

Once again, I think the new album is pretty nifty, but a real let down in terms of what could have been

I don't think you want to recognise that Interpol are indeed progressing while maintaining an identity as you have made your mind up and yer a stubborn get ;)

With regard to the bands you mentioned earlier, only The Cure I feel really progressed in a truly satisfying way.

Joy Division in all likelihood would have ended up as New Order with a better singer, as they were heading in a more synth-based direction anyway on 'Closer'. Ian Curtis singing 'Blue Monday' would be amazing but since he would have probably remained the band's songwriter, that song would likely never have existed and the world would be a poorer place for that. But ultimately it's a pointless train of thought, it's like imagining what Kurt Cobain would have done next, we will never know.

The Bunnymen - now I like them, and personally I think they were one of the best singles bands of the 80's, but...album wise they have never fully delivered for me after 'Crocodiles'. 'Heaven Up Here' is good, but is too ponderous and full of it's own importance and isn't that much of a departure from 'Crocodiles' and if anything it was a step in the wrong direction for me. 'Porcupine' has some of their strongest songs in 'The Back Of Love', 'The Cutter' and 'Heads Will Roll', but it also contains some of the most embarrassing lyrical work I have ever heard, not just by the Bunnymen but by anyone - that song that harps on about cucumbers and cabbage.... (sorry I'm terrible at remembering album tracks). And McCulloch still has the tenacity to claim they were a better band than U2. They may well have been peers at one point but U2 eclipsed the Bunnymen in terms of ongoing quality and ultimate progress and achievement, even if they have been disappointing since they allegedly rediscovered their original sound, personally I feel they are now largely a poor version of what they used to be other than the odd decent single. 'Ocean Rain' of course had 'The Killing Moon', an undoubted classic and probably the Bunnymen's finest moment, but again other than the singles, it just wasn't that great an album really, certainly not worthy of the overblown full page ads in the music press. It was basically 'Porcupine' with added strings. 'Bring on The Dancing Horses' was the last decent stab before becoming a Doors tribute act and releasing a rather dull self-titled album. I won't go over the whole Electrafixion and reformation years.

I will agree that The Cure did indeed progress in a mostly satisfying manner, from the catchy guitar pop-punk of 3 Imaginary Boys/Boys Don't Cry, to a timely gloom and doom period (Faith, Seventeen Seconds, Pornography) that co-incided quite nicely with the loss of Mr.Curtis and so giving the doom crown to Robert Smith, a quick stop off at psychedelic pop weirdness with The Top (underrated and still my favourite Cure album) to left of field pop genius ('Japanese Whispers'/'Head On The Door'/'Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me'), a swift detour back to gloom and doom (with a more accessible edge) with Disintegration, followed by the horrible 'Friday I'm In Love' and pretty much pastiches of various periods they had gone through before. Yes, largely I'm of the opinion that 'Disintegration' would have been a good final album....

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Guest Steven Dedalus

Why I oughta!!!!

I think what I'm getting at is that listening to that new one, I can't detect a discernable progression through any of the albums. For me, they've just used the same raw materials to make a different set of good songs each time, without adding anything new to the mix (with the odd exception). It just seems to be the same guitar tone, the same drum-beats and rhythms and the same vocal melodies. The bass is the most interesting thing about it, I guess.

And I still maintain it's a good album! Like I said above there: they've made three good albums. But I can't help but think they've made the same album three times.

This ties in to what I was saying earlier on in the sense that if you heard "Ocean Rain" by the Bunnymen, and loved it, there is no guarantee that you would have any time for "Crocodiles", cos they are fairly radically different. And even the difference between something like "Crocodiles" and "Heaven Up Here" is sginificant, cos they were building on the strengths of the first album and slowly taking it in new directions; more atmospherics, slightly funkier, better use of repetition, etc. It's not a massive leap, I'll give you that, but it shows some kind of progression, and the time period involved between those albums is a darn sight shorter than Interpol's albums.

I mean, I actually know people who are a fan of "Closer" but don't like "Unknown Pleasures" and vice versa! There's a definate evolution between those two albums, and one can only speculate where they'd have gone given more time (and you're correct to point out the...erm...pointlessness of such a venture).

To make this less damning, which is not what I intended, how about some constructive criticism for the 'Pol (I just wrote that)?

My suggestion is that they need to get more varied rhythmically. LOADS of their songs are in the same tempos, and plod about a bit trying to be mysterous. When they speed it up a bit, or intorduce a different timimg, I think it gets more interesting. I also want more varied vocal melodies. Yer man who sings is one of those fellers who, if he goes up, then he must go down, etc etc. It's really obvious what the melodies are going to do next. He's not a bad singer, and his voice suits certain things, but if only he could learn to use his voice more evocatively, then it would be the same old tricks.

I think after "Turn on the Bright Lights", Interpol work best when they're mixing it up a bit. There were a number of tunes on "Antics" (some of the singles, I think, can't remember) were verging on funky, and were very good because of it. On the new one, there's a tune in particular (once again, can't remember the name of it) which has a sort of hazy Motown feel to it, and it was a bit of a surprise, and made it more exciting. If they could follow these kind of things to their logical conclusion, then I really do believe that Interpol could throw off the shackles of being "A Band That Is Inspiried By The 80s" and really becme a genuinely innovative and interesting band. And I think that if they stop worrying about their commercial fortunes, they might just do that.

By the way, that Bunnymen tune about Cucumbers and Cabbages was "Thorn of Crowns" and it's off "Ocean Rain", not "Porcupine", dumbo!!! "Porcupine" has more than it's fair share of terrible lyrics to pick from, so don't start stealing ones from other albums!!!

"John Webster was,

One of the best there was.

He was the author of

Two major tragedies:

The White Devil and

The Duchess of Malfia."

And any literary student will tell you that it's "The Duchess of MALFI" not "MALFIA", stupid Ian.

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Guest bluesxman
Why I oughta!!!!

I think what I'm getting at is that listening to that new one, I can't detect a discernable progression through any of the albums. For me, they've just used the same raw materials to make a different set of good songs each time, without adding anything new to the mix (with the odd exception). It just seems to be the same guitar tone, the same drum-beats and rhythms and the same vocal melodies. The bass is the most interesting thing about it, I guess.

And I still maintain it's a good album! Like I said above there: they've made three good albums. But I can't help but think they've made the same album three times.

This ties in to what I was saying earlier on in the sense that if you heard "Ocean Rain" by the Bunnymen, and loved it, there is no guarantee that you would have any time for "Crocodiles", cos they are fairly radically different. And even the difference between something like "Crocodiles" and "Heaven Up Here" is sginificant, cos they were building on the strengths of the first album and slowly taking it in new directions; more atmospherics, slightly funkier, better use of repetition, etc. It's not a massive leap, I'll give you that, but it shows some kind of progression, and the time period involved between those albums is a darn sight shorter than Interpol's albums.

I mean, I actually know people who are a fan of "Closer" but don't like "Unknown Pleasures" and vice versa! There's a definate evolution between those two albums, and one can only speculate where they'd have gone given more time (and you're correct to point out the...erm...pointlessness of such a venture).

To make this less damning, which is not what I intended, how about some constructive criticism for the 'Pol (I just wrote that)?

My suggestion is that they need to get more varied rhythmically. LOADS of their songs are in the same tempos, and plod about a bit trying to be mysterous. When they speed it up a bit, or intorduce a different timimg, I think it gets more interesting. I also want more varied vocal melodies. Yer man who sings is one of those fellers who, if he goes up, then he must go down, etc etc. It's really obvious what the melodies are going to do next. He's not a bad singer, and his voice suits certain things, but if only he could learn to use his voice more evocatively, then it would be the same old tricks.

I think after "Turn on the Bright Lights", Interpol work best when they're mixing it up a bit. There were a number of tunes on "Antics" (some of the singles, I think, can't remember) were verging on funky, and were very good because of it. On the new one, there's a tune in particular (once again, can't remember the name of it) which has a sort of hazy Motown feel to it, and it was a bit of a surprise, and made it more exciting. If they could follow these kind of things to their logical conclusion, then I really do believe that Interpol could throw off the shackles of being "A Band That Is Inspiried By The 80s" and really becme a genuinely innovative and interesting band. And I think that if they stop worrying about their commercial fortunes, they might just do that.

By the way, that Bunnymen tune about Cucumbers and Cabbages was "Thorn of Crowns" and it's off "Ocean Rain", not "Porcupine", dumbo!!! "Porcupine" has more than it's fair share of terrible lyrics to pick from, so don't start stealing ones from other albums!!!

"John Webster was,

One of the best there was.

He was the author of

Two major tragedies:

The White Devil and

The Duchess of Malfia."

And any literary student will tell you that it's "The Duchess of MALFI" not "MALFIA", stupid Ian.

Ah, pardon me about misplacing that song on the wrong album, that does however take 'Ocean Rain' down a further notch. 'Porcupine' remains as it was due to 'My White Devil'. Anyway enough banter about the Bunnymen....

Interpol - my argument has always been that after the first album they DID start mixing it up a bit - the first album is pretty slow to mid-tempo consistently, whereas they started to pace it up a fair bit with 'Slow Hands' and 'Evil'. The instrumentation on songs like 'Next Exit' was also expanded. Although the vocal style retained that naturally ponderous edge, 'Antics' just seems less claustrophobic and more varied in focus than the first album.

As for the new album, the opening track has almost a 60's soundtrack quality. I must admit I've only listened a few times due to my usual back catalogue of stuff to get through, but I certainly enjoyed it. I would probably nudge your 3/5 up a bit to a possible 3.5/4 in comparison to other bands material but in terms of against the other Interpol albums, I would probably agree with your assessment.

I would argue the need to vary material too far, otherwise you end up with 'Rattle And Hum' instead of 'Boy' to use the U2 example again.

Interpol, The Strokes and Kings Of Leon are probably the 3 widely known 'indie' bands this decade that I am most respectful of and I would say Interpol are the most consistent in output. The Strokes debut was near faultless and they have struggled to fulfil the early promise, their follow up albums are very patchy although still contain moments of brilliance such as 'Reptilia' and 'Heart in A Cage'.

Kings Of Leon again had a very strong debut, a patchy follow up other than the singles and I am still undecided about the new one, I think it is improved on the second one but to what extent I'm unsure.

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I liked interpols first album.

Decent band, only briefly heard the new one. Initially I thought it was bland, good background shite etc. However, with the exception of the first album I always have that impression with the polis. Need to give it a proper listen

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