Any band is going to be affected by losing in integral member, and Interpol are certainly no different. Founding bassist, Carlos Dengler, left in ‘amicable’ fashion, with the colourful New Yorker wanting to pursue other lines of work.
Part of a wave of Joy Divisionesque revivalists such as Editors and Horrors, Interpol have unsurprisingly set a very particular image of themselves, one cast in downright darkness and gloom. Cliché as this might be, it just about worked, but only because it was offset by the flamboyancy and eccentricity of the aforementioned bass player.
He was widely acclaimed as the most famous member of Interpol, with his ‘nazi chique’ sense of fashion, a fashion that included slicked back hair, an abundance of leather, and even an empty gun holster.
However, it surfaced that he’d fell out of love with his instrument, and that Interpol would be replacing him with The Secret Machines’ bassist Brandon Curtis and David Pajo (formerly of Slint) for live duties.
The band’s self titled album does feature Carlos though, and this will come as relief to eagerly awaiting fans.
The first thing that’s very obvious from the new album is that Interpol’s sound has not changed, and after three albums of pretty much the same kind of stuff, maybe it was time to try something different. After all, there’s only a certain amount you can do when you’re so restricted to one style.
Lights, a track released a few months ago, trundles along slightly, waiting for something to kick in and give the song some purpose, but like with a lot of the album, when that certain something does come, it’s just a bit disappointing.
Safe Without is undeniably a stand out. Paul Banks repeats the title words over and over again in the kind of way a drunken person tries to get the message across that they’re sober, getting more and more intense with each utterance. This is all in front of typically dark guitar, swirling around Banks’ voice. Add in a forceful drum beat and you’ve got yourself a great Interpol song, but the fact the song stands out so much is a testament to the mediocrity that a lot of the album offers up.
It’s one of those albums that you say “I think it’s a grower” after listening to it for the first time, but there just isn’t enough substance for this album to be received as well as their other three releases.
As unfair as this sounds, if the album had been released by any other band then my opinion of it would probably be higher. However, it’s because I expect so much from Interpol that it leaves me slightly empty. It’s all a bit too ‘same old same old’, and the band, which will have a new bassist for whatever they do next, need to prevent the same from happening again.
Interpol by name, Interpol by nature.