Interpol / Turn On the Bright Lights

Turn on the Bright Lights

Interpol is an American rock band formed in 1997[1] in New York City. The band’s original line-up consisted of Paul Banks (vocals, guitar), Daniel Kessler (guitar, vocals), Carlos Dengler (bass guitar, keyboards) and Greg Drudy (drums, percussion). Drudy left the band in 2000 and was replaced by Sam Fogarino. In 2010, shortly after recording finished for the band’s fourth album, Dengler left to pursue personal projects. While the band is officially now a trio, they have recruited David Pajo as their new bassist and Brandon Curtis as their new keyboardist and backing vocalist for their current tour.

Interpol is one of the bands associated with the New York indie music scene, having first performed at Luna Lounge and being one of several groups that emerged out of the post-punk revival of the 2000s. The band’s sound is generally a mix of bass throb and rhythmic, harmonized guitar, with a snare heavy mix, drawing comparisons to post-punk bands such as Joy Division and The Chameleons.[2] Aside from the lyrics, their songwriting method includes all of the band members, rather than relying on any given chief songwriter.[3]

Interpol’s debut album Turn on the Bright Lights (2002) was critically acclaimed, making it to tenth position on the NME’s list of top albums in 2002[4] as well as #1 on Pitchfork Media’s Top 50 Albums of 2002.[5] Subsequent records Antics (2004) and Our Love to Admire (2007) have confirmed the band’s initial success and turned them into a commercial and critical success. The band is expected to release its fourth, self-titled album in September.

Untitled—-Beginning with the by now familiar bass sounds from Carlos D., this track takes it’s time to become the plodding monster that it is. Upon first listen I was struck by the remarkable similarities to bands I loved as a younger person…in the ensuing years I have looked past this and learned to appreciate the brilliance that is Interpol. Banks enters with a vocal that is not nearly as morose or monotone as later recordings, but even from the beginning, the genius was there. This becomes amazingly noisy at times…pure NY underground genius.

Obstacle 1—-With a much more familiar sound, this was the blueprint for the many songs that were to come from this band. The vocal is pushed pretty far to the back of the mix, but is still string and masterful anyways. This song becomes clearly maniacal at times and the band has rarely safely repeated this mastery since then. This is layered and full of dark and smoky rooms that were made for solo dancing and shoe gazing…disinterest and lack of emotion. This is incredible.

NYC—-This is tremendous…recorded with slight production, this is wonderful because of the lack of polish and finesse. Banks is much more upfront with his vocal and just as morose as on any song you could pull from this bands catalog. This is deep and dark…full of vocal layers and a swirling bass line and guitars that sound more like 4 than one. This is stark, beautiful and full of haunting images. I love this….swoon!!!

PDA—-Coming out of a dark and dank NY nightclub full of purple lights and lots of black clad fellows, the vocal is so upfront and uninterested that it draws your interest from the first note. This is remarkable…the music was just different enough to capture everyone but it is the remarkable vocal similarities that perhaps drew all of the similarities. This is darkly haunting and full of the most morose feelings you could imagine…you feel an ache on the back of your neck as you allow yourself to be drawn even deeper into the lyrics and mood of the song. This was brilliant…for a band I really did not like very much upon first listen, I literally adore these guys.

Say Hello To The Angels—-Carlos has such a distinct bass sound, I swear I could recognize it anywhere!!! This is much more erratic and upbeat…delivering a typical NYC sound that made The Velvet Underground so huge in that city. Banks is much more expressive with his vocal…sometimes you get the feeling that perhaps he was a bit rushed and out of his comfort zone…none the less, it resulted, in my opinion, one of the best tracks on this release. This is fantastic…noisy without being overbearing, energetic without losing any of the darkness….wonderful!!!

Hands Away—-Moody and full of atmosphere, Banks enters right from the start with a vocal that is a bit manipulated and layered with remarkable manipulation. this is classic purple light, dark and moist bar music that reins supreme in the underbelly of the Big Apple. I love this shit…this is so dark and moody, you better ne sure your mood is in check before you put this on. despite the slight feedback feel of the music and the spastic vocal, this was just a slight glimpse of the mastery that would come on Antics!!!

Obstacle 2—-This is better than anything that you could ever hope to get from this band. this is remarkable and perhaps my favorite track from this release. This could have easily found a place on the Antics CD….this was just a hint of what we were about to receive from the band. Banks sounds lonely, empty and a bit demented as he begs for his girl to provide his salvation. this is just incredible..layered and delivered with enough emotion to crush the happiest person…I love this stuff!!!!

Stella Was A Diver And She Was Always Down—-This is nice….with a bit of tape hiss added for effect, you know that this was true Indie when it was released. banks delivers a vocal that is so Curtis you know for sure where the references came from. this is just incredible….Paul sounds literally driven by his demons…rushing to get all of the demons inside of him out in this one song…one expects him to convulse in spastic manners before the end can even come close. This is so damn emotional and raw…why have I not listened to this is such a long time?

Roland—-Hyper-driven and led by the remarkable bass line of Carlos, this is so familiar yet so new to me…even now. This is wonderous…Banks sings faster than ever, but never looses track of his monotone styled singing that makes this band masterful. the ever-present bass line slows and ebbs but still remains a constant in the song. The drums are almost hyper driven and seem to really have a showcase on this song. This is magnificent.

The New—-Really traveling back into an intense somber mood, this is sublime and beautifully layered. The vocal is just wonderful…this is really not that far away from Antics…somewhere along the way the band lost a bit of their direction. This is something I could listen to over and over again all day long….depite the sometimes cold feel of the song, it fills me with a remarkable warmth that settles in the pit of my stomach and makes me feel better about the world…simply because I am not this miserable. Wonderful!!!

Leif Erickson—-Despite repeating the same formulated sound over and over again, this never gets old for me. This is perhaps…for me…one of the best and most powerful songs on the release. The track has a remarkable musical sense of melody…the vocal is full of slight echos and the familiar morose lyrics that warm me like an electric blanket. This is beyond words…and for me that is saying a lot. I love this band!!!

***** out of 5 [!!!!!]


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