The received wisdom is that things started to go wrong for Interpol somewhere around album three.
While I don’t fully agree with that – ‘Our Love To Admire’ contains a clutch of songs that are surely among the band’s best – the departure of Carlos D(engler) and that dodgy self-titled LP did suggest that things weren’t entirely rosy with NYC’s sharpest-suited sons.
But here we are, four years later, and how things have changed. Not much in sound, obviously, but certainly in tone.
‘El Pintor’ – the name presumably derived from the band dicking around on anagramgenius.com one lonely night – sounds like a band that’s remembered how to enjoy itself. It’s a feeling helped by kicking off with ‘All The Rage Back Home’ (video below), the band’s easiest-to-love song in a decade. It’s loud, it’s brash and it’s pure fun. It more or less sets the tone for a record that may as well have been called ‘Antics 2’ – or ‘Further Antics’, perhaps?
After the Interpol-on-autopilot drag of ‘My Desire’, ‘Anywhere’ begins a fiercely strong run of tracks. Each of the band’s albums has a subtle, but vital, advance in sound. On ‘El Pintor’ it’s frontman Paul Banks occasionally adopting a falsetto. It adds a vulnerability that his austere howl has often lacked, with ‘My Blue Supreme’ and ‘Everything Is Wrong’ both yearningly lovely.
Sure, it’s not as good as ‘Turn On The Bright Lights’, but c’mon, it was never going to be. But as an exercise in getting back to where you once belonged, ‘El Pintor’ is highly successful.
Words: Will Salmon
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