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Interpol - El Pintor (Album Review)

Monday, 08 September 2014 Written by Graeme Marsh

Four years on from their eponymous fourth LP, Interpol are back, reinventing themselves as a trio following the departure of bassist Carlos Dengler just prior to their last release.

Forever burdened with the weight of an impossible-to-follow debut, ‘Turn On The Bright Lights’, Interpol have duly struggled to consistently hit the same heights since then, even if each subsequent release contained more than just the occasional triumph. ‘Interpol’, though, was particularly difficult to read.

With that said, putting the band aside for a few years was probably the best way to arrest their slide, with each member taking time out to follow individual pursuits and side projects.

Frontman Paul Banks recently told Rolling Stone that recording as a three-piece left Interpol feeling like a new band, with Banks even utilising Dengler’s absence as a tool to get in sync with Daniel Kessler’s guitars following a period of writer’s block, picking up a bass during the early writing period.

All The Rage Back Home opens the album in stunning fashion, the single providing an immediate, clear indication that the band are back to their best. A trademark descending guitar line precedes a chorus hewn from the classic Interpol sound, with My Desire taking the album up another notch as a simple guitar melody is paired with a soaring hook and glistening synth backdrop.

Everything Is Wrong is another belter, its chunky bass intro combining with keys until sparkling guitars arrive and Banks sings: “Everything is wrong, truly wrong.” But, in all honesty, he couldn’t be further from the truth. To illustrate the point further, Breaker 1’s tambourines and menacing guitar chords create an emotionally charged atmosphere before culminating in a pummelling climax, with Ancient Ways following an unconventional structure and Tidal Wave returning to the anthemic for its chorus.

Twice As Hard closes the collection in reflective mood as Banks muses: “These are all my creations.” It’s a calm after the storm type of moment that perfectly suits the record’s final throes. While reluctant to call it a return to form, Banks and friends have in fact produced an excellent album that must be said to be just that. ‘El Pintor’ is a monster.

Interpol Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Fri February 06 2015 - LONDON Roundhouse
Sat February 07 2015 - LONDON Roundhouse
Sun February 08 2015 - MANCHESTER Albert Hall
Tue February 10 2015 - DUBLIN Olympia
Wed February 11 2015 - DUBLIN Olympia
Thu February 12 2015 - DUBLIN Olympia Theatre

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