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Interpol - Marauder (Album Review)

Tuesday, 04 September 2018 Written by Graeme Marsh

Photo: Jamie-James Medina

Having dispensed with the anagrams following the release of the excellent ‘El Pintor’ four years ago, Interpol’s sixth album ‘Marauder’ is the subject of a production shift. Not since 2007’s ‘Our Love To Admire’ have they employed an outside producer, so it’s somewhat surprising to find Dave Fridmann (Mercury Rev, the Flaming Lips) at the helm here.

With Fridmann’s cathedral-ceilinged Tarbox Road Studios a seven-hour drive from the band’s home in New York City, the LP was mainly completed during two-week periods of “destructive recording”, whereby takes would be wiped and started from scratch if they were deemed below par. Vocalist Paul Banks recently described it as “working without a net”.

The LP’s first single, The Rover, features trademark, pinprick guitar from Daniel Kessler and a familiar melody. It’s along the lines of how you would predict an Interpol single to sound, but falls short of past glories.

Its second single, If You Really Love Nothing, though, might divide fans with a largely tuneless main hook that rides alongside pounding drums and surprising falsetto vocals. But give it some time – it’s a grower.

Front loading albums with singles is rarely a good idea, particularly when they finish up being the highlights. Sadly ‘Marauder’ suffers on this score. The faceless Complications is drab, melodically dull and weak - it’s the song in a live set that boils your blood as the people around you turn to each other and start a shouted conversation.

Flight of Fancy fares better despite lacking a destination of note, but Stay in Touch suffers a similar fate. It's a song with an identity crisis that feels largely pointless – what exactly is this shapeless noise supposed to be? At this point, Banks’ normally mesmerising, robotic vocals also begin to lack their usual allure, depriving us of one of the band’s greatest assets.

Elsewhere, there are several ‘nearly’ moments. Mountain Child’s rumbling percussion is initially diverting but muddled until the chorus kicks in, while Surveillance’s extended instrumental outro provides a highlight. Both Number 10 and It Probably Matters follow suit: almost there but ultimately frustrating. A couple of ambient instrumental interludes provide some shelter from the confusion, although with the tools Interpol have in their locker, you know they could do something better if they really put their minds to it.

Editors were heralded as nothing more than Interpol copycats in some quarters when they emerged in 2002. It would seem, however, that while the Birmingham band have shifted styles into something bigger and stronger over time, their American peers’ bright lights appear to be fading.

Interpol Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Wed November 14 2018 - LONDON Royal Albert Hall
Thu November 15 2018 - LONDON Royal Albert Hall
Fri November 16 2018 - MANCHESTER O2 Apollo
Sun November 18 2018 - DUBLIN Olympia Theatre
Mon November 19 2018 - DUBLIN Olympia Theatre
Tue November 20 2018 - DUBLIN Olympia Theatre

Click here to compare & buy Interpol Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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