Interpol – Interpol
Whenever a band releases an eponymous album, the idea is that the record is definitive of the band’s sound. This doesn’t necessarily mean it is the best album in a band’s discography but one that gives a good example of what they are all about. So it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that Interpol ends up being a bit of summation of Interpol’s career so far, touching upon everything the band has done in the past. They even moved back to their old label, Matador, to release the record. The intoxicating urgency of Turn On The Bright Lights, the upbeat, danceable rhythms incorporated into Antics, and the sonic ambitions of Our Love To Admire take their shape here in one form or another. Some of the sleek but sub-par songwriting that marred Our Love also affects some of the tracks here, but fortunately this is an altogether tighter and more focused listen. “Barricade,” with its anthemic chorus, could easily fit into either of the band’s first two albums, and opener “Success” also lives up to its name, taking advantage of Interpol’s knack for dark elegance. Yet, for every success is a tuneful but forgettable song like “Summer Well” and “Safe Without.” The problem with these songs—and with Interpol in general—is that, because the band traces back over their older work, they offer nothing new. Instead, they only serve as an example of the band’s sonic blueprint but don’t have the memorable songwriting to make them worthwhile. It is only when Interpol try something different that the album becomes more interesting than a retrospective. The insistent “Lights,” which gradually builds to a stomping chant of “That’s why I hold you, dear,” is just about the best moment on the album. The keyboard loop on “Try It On” and “The Undoing”‘s mourning brass and Spanish-language verses point toward other directions Interpol could go in the future. Considering the retrospective feel of the album and the departure of founding bassist Carlos Dengler, self-titling the album may also signal that the band are ready to move on to pursue the new sounds hinted at here. Interpol may please fans as it showcases something familiar, but it gives the overall impression that it is the end of an era. It’s quite frankly a relief, though, as Interpol don’t really seem to have their hearts in mining the same sounds they used to.