Review: Interpol - El Pintor
Somewhere along the line, and somewhat inexplicably, Interpol began to go wrong. Their last two albums - 2007's Our Love To Admire and their self-titled effort of a World Cup ago - played like watered-down versions of what went before.
It was as if they'd found themselves in a rut, or had eyes on solo projects, but whatever the issue, their produce was suffering. So what a pleasant surprise El Pintor turns out to be. Opening salvo All The Rage Back Home immediately and urgently places them back in the realm of the relevant. It's not so much the sound of a band that enjoys being together in the same room again, but rather a band that has re-found the best way to spark off one another. Sam Fogarino's metronomic, cymbal-flecked drums offer rigid maypole around which Daniel Kessler's guitar lines skip to a menacing, detached Banks vocal.
Banks is still a dab hand at the ghostly anthemic number, as Breaker 1 illustrates. The busy Ancient Ways has a quickened pulse, a cold sweat and a glare in its eye, with Banks seemingly chastising bands burdened by yoke of a city's musical heritage, indeed "beaten by the weight of it". It's a pity that this record hadn't reared its head earlier in the summer, for a track like Anywhere would sound just perfect drifting from a late-night festival main stage set, with a slight nip in the air. The fatalistic Everything Is Wrong could as easily be about a personal relationship, as perhaps where Interpol found themselves prior to this record. Thankfully, El Pintor paints a beautifully gloomy picture of a band again reaching a lost peak.
First published in INSIDER Magazine, exclusive to Thursday's Irish Independent