Sound — 9
With all the musical mediocrity dominating the music scene nowadays, I (as well as countless fans and critics) waited for this album with abated breath. Many were concerned that a major record deal would change Interpol for the worse, though these fears were certainly unfounded. What we have here is a CD of huge ambition and development, although in comparison to previous works I'd say this is more like debut, Turn On The Bright Lights, than follow up Antics. It contains huge, expansive sounds and the more integrated keyboards really add to Interpol's atmospheric quality.
Lyrics — 9
The department of Interpol's vocals rest squarely on one man's shoulders. And it's fair to say that Paul Banks is a fairly love or hate musician, most will love him. And his growth from Antics to Admire is quite breathtaking. Harmonies are used on a few occasions and are really effective in 'The Scale' and 'The Heinrich Manoeuvre'. Overall it shows a more in depth way of thinking for this band, which have often been dismissed as Joy Division wannabes just because of Paul's baritone voice. He really 'sings' this time round, in fact his live performances of old songs also seem to have benefited. The lyrics in Our Love To Admire, as with past efforts, are somewhat cryptic though as always they seem to just work. In album closer 'The Lighthouse' (a song that was only put on the album at all because of Paul's singing) his voice is exposed against a single guitar and he really does make the grade.
Overall Impression — 10
01. Pioneer To The Falls - the natural opener to OLTA, Pioneer To The Falls stars of low key with Daniel's trademark brittle guitar riff, before the layers slowly build into an atmospheric powerhouse of sound. Paul's vocals are particularly potent here, especially when the guitars fade leaving just that voice against Sam's drums, with talk of 'Flying straight into my heart. But here comes the fall It really is spine tingling stuff, and I'm sure would be a terrific set opener live. 02. No I In Threesome - given the suggestive title, a lot of speculation has surrounded this song. Despite this, I would consider it to be one of the weaker tracks of the record. The intro is nice and Paul's singing and lyrics are pleasing. However at the end of the four minutes you don't feel all that inspired, and the chorus rather loses itself under its own heavy timbre. 03. The Scale - this is most probably the moodiest, most sinister (sinister being something Interpol have done so well before) song on the record. The belting opening guitar line repeated throughout sets off a really solid song. Paul's use of harmony here is absolutely spot on, while the (for want of a better word) 'spooky' organesque keys add to the dark nature of the track. 04. The Heinrich Manoeuvre - obviously, this was going to be the first single, it definitely has the most instant likableness of any song on OLTA. Despite the similarity to Antics' 'Slow Hands', The Heinrich Manoeuvre could certainly turn out to be Interpol's most successful single yet. The flawless bass line/vocals combination and Paul's swirling guitar take you through the verses and then you're hit by impeccable harmonies and pitch-bent guitars in, what is in my opinion, the best Interpol chorus to date. A really classy interlude and a spiky, aggressive ending complete a great song. 05. Mammoth - although Interpol should have stuck with working title 'Pawn Shop' for this, Mammoth is certainly an intriguing song. At first glance, I thought this might have just become Length of Love #2. However where the worst Antics song failed, Mammoth succeeds. The guitars here are relentless rather than just boring, and the keyboard driven chorus provides a needed break and perfect contrast to the rest of the song. 06. Pace Is The Trick - having listened to this album several times, this has emerged as one of my favourite songs. Daniels fragile guitar line (a bit too similar to that of Pioneer To The Falls for my liking) which starts the song quickly builds with Paul's voice again prominent, and provides two different refrains that are both beautifully constructed and executed. Paul's held vocal notes really drive through the rhythm, bringing the hairs on the hairs on the back of your neck to a stand. 07. All Fired Up - is widely considered by Interpol fans to be the weakest song on the album. It does however, have its own individual merits, although it takes a few listens. This is a shout-along chant of a track that also seems to include double-bassing from Carlos in the opening verse, though I don't know this for a fact. 'All Fired Up' is a deeply catchy song, though the lack of technical prowess and mystery may render it unattractive to some fans. 08. Rest My Chemistry - in my opinion this would make the best second single from the album. It is a deep, rich sounding track with prominent piano, which is highly listenable. But scratch beyond this thick sound and a real story of sorrow and remorse again sung beautifully, although the lyric Like a daisy in my lazy eye in such a context is truly shameful for such a good lyricist. I also see this becoming a live favourite of future Interpol concerts. 09. Who Do You Think? - again considered one of the less memorable numbers, 'Who Do You Think?' begins with a slow mournful chord progression; perhaps duping the listener into thinking this would be another sombre outing. This of course is not the case, as the verses and refrains take the song at full speed through 3 minutes of satisfying, but fairly low impact, song. 10. Wrecking Ball - this however is that sombre outing that 'Who Do You Think?' promised. Wrecking ball is a purposeful, considered song of sorrow and lost love. This is the B-Side to one of the formats of single, 'The Heinrich Manoeuvre' and it couldn't be more different. This track relies heavily on atmosphere and haunting vocals to see it through, and it does itself proud. A hidden gem for sure. 11. The Lighthouse - originally called 'Spaghetti Western', The Lighthouse was the only track fit to end this brilliant album. Largely unaccompanied (other than Daniels highly distinctive tremolo picking) Paul gives a vocal master class, singing of life out at sea. The song builds every now and again introducing pianos and bass before reverting back to beautiful, bare guitar. Eventually the drums kick in and the song swirls with breathtaking elegance, which just doesn't go on for long enough. Overall with Our Love To Admire, Interpol do not 'sell out' whatsoever, and the notoriously difficult third album is a total winner. It will introduce many new fans to this wonderful band, and will delight old ones, who have absolutely nothing to worry about and every reason to be happy.