Friday, 1 June 2007

INTERPOL - Turn on the Bright Lights (2002)

The debut album from the NYC band INTERPOL sounds like it was recorded on the green grass lands of the UK. It has the same melancholy feelings of many British old bands and the powerful and messing guitar of the new bands like Arctic Monkeys and Bloc Party. However sometimes it reminds you of The Pixies, specially on the solo guitar track “The New”.

But there are two musical elements that rule the LP. The first is a kind of dark mixing. Although some songs are strong rock tunes, you don’t want to dance, you can feel the weight of the emotions on the tracks that pass one by one slowly like a big and heavy wheel climbing up a hill.

The second musical element is the way that the singer of the band does his job. Without a good register, he sings like he was rushed to say all the words his soul needed to say, like now or never. Sometimes he puts more words than the musical timing allows, and sometimes faster. He finished the phrases after the instrumental line had completed leaving some strange space without singing, like mute notes. Paul Banks sings, forgetting the pop rules of how to build a perfect song.

But the LP flows naturally with little surprises, maybe with the exception of the longest song (“Stella Was A Diver And She Was Always Down”) but this track is like an abstract of the musical ideas of the band. The second longest track (“The New”) doesn’t justify its length of six minutes either.

Talking about the lyrics, they are focused on a man flattened by a lover that “Was A Diver And (She) Was Always Down” that is the object of all his devotion and desperation, almost all the songs talks about it (“Untitled”, “Obstacle 1”, “Pda”, “Say Hello To The Angels”, “Obstacle 2”, “Stella Was A Diver And She Was Always Down”, “The New” and “Leif Erikson”) Maybe I should quote the songs with different lyrics.

It’s not easy to recommend highlights from this LP, although one guide are the singles (“Obstacle 1”, “NYC”), but I can pick up a couple with good lyrics, like “Leif Erikson” and “Obstacle 1”.

Published on Blogcritics on 01-06-2007

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