The prevailing narrative surrounding Interpol is that they have been a band in perpetual decline since the arrival of their critically-acclaimed debut 'Turn On The Bright Lights' in 2002. While such a narrative may be unfair, sophomore record 'Antics' and its follow-up 'Our Love To Admire' both enjoyed commercial success and largely positive reviews, their fourth LP 'Interpol' was less successful. An album that seemed bereft of spark and vitality, 'Interpol' became muddled in its own intricacies leaving fans and critics nonplussed.
When bassist Carlos Dengler left the band following the completion of their fourth record, it looked like Interpol as a band could be on the ropes. The argument that Interpol's best days were behind them seemed more persuasive than before. Fast-forward to 2014, however, and things have changed. If anyone thought that the departure of Carlos Dengler was the final nail in Interpol's coffin, 'El Pintor' shows those predictions to be premature. Bristling with the tense energy and slick style which has characterised Interpol's best work, 'El Pintor' is exactly the shot in the arm the band needed.
Towering single 'All The Rage Back Home' channels Interpol's trademark intensity; screaming tremolos sounding out over a tight rhythm section that's clinical in its execution. 'My Desire' reveals a previously rare glimpse of singer Paul Banks' falsetto, giving the song the added texture it needs to keep Interpol's sound fresh and interesting. In fact, Paul Banks' falsetto proves to be something of a hidden weapon which permeates the whole of 'El Pintor'. It doesn't always work, on 'Ancient Ways' it sounds forced, sudden and uncomfortable, but when deployed effectively on 'My Desire' and 'My Blue Supreme' in particular, it provides a contrast to Banks' default baritone which allows Interpol to add a strong new dimension to their sound.
Continue reading: Interpol - El Pintor Album Review