Album Reviews

Interpol - Marauder (Matador)

Brent Giblin

Having spent most of 2017 touring the anniversary of debut album, Turn On the Bright Lights, Interpol finally release their 6th album .

Advance single The Rover, showed off an up-tempo tale of a charismatic doomsday prophet that featured some spidery guitar lines that Nick Zimmer (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) would have been proud of and a close clustered production. 

That production came courtesy of Dave Fridmann who you may be familiar with from his out there work with Psych rockers Mercury Rev, The Flaming Lips and more recently, Tame Impala.

This led some people  (not me) to believe this album was going to be a radical new direction with crazy sounds and lots of distortion, reverb and the like. But who were they kidding? It's Interpol. Their strength is in their narrow sound palette That droney bass, high repeated riffs,  quantized vocals, and complex drum patterns.  When it works it produces a unique tension that connects with a place of emotional numbness. When it doesn't it can sound like a monotonous buzz in your ear.

Marauder is the sound of frontman Paul Banks making peace with the sins of his past self, and is more unique tension than monotony. It is of release that you can see but ultimately never get to.

The decision to record live with minimum overdubs has probably helped to up the intensity levels with all songs sounding darker and more menacing than on 2014's El Pintor.

While you lose some of the preciseness of previous performances,  you gain much-needed feel. See the nearly, but not quite there, opening vocal refrain of Party's Over, or the low flat grumble of NYSMAW ...the long farewell of Stay In Touch. They all show flashes of humanity in a very grey world.

 I also like the idea of having two interludes. These short keyboard washes at tracks 6 and 12 help to give you a chance to exhale just a little and take in the view.

Not that you can completely relax.

As the distant monk drone of Interlude 1 fades away, it's back on your feet and time to continue the climb with Mountain Child, which offers the hope of a different kind of relationship only to reveal the usual game of snakes and ladders.

Unfortunately what follows is Surveillance,  a song as dull as it's subject matter. A repetitive 4:14 tune that had me waiting for something exciting to happen, a guitar solo, a keyboard squawk, anything but nope. Nothing. Ironically it is followed up by Number 10, a song that was destined to be a b-side and instead is one of the new experimental (for Interpol) compositions.

It starts with a circular guitar descent before tumbling into the energetic tale of an office romance. After Party's Over and Interlude 2,  follow and then we are shown the fragility of It Probably Matters where Paul Banks sounds like he could start yelling angrily at the wall or burst into tears and collapse on the couch at anytime. It could go either way.

Interpol have produced an album that to the casual listener might simply sound like more of the same but repeated listens reveal a mature work that really takes you on an emotional journey full of 21st Century tension.

 

 

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Released: 24 Aug 2018

Written By: Brent Giblin