Sound — 5
This isn't a unlikely story. a band forms in a big city, gigs and writes nonstop for a few years until it gains credibility, then releases an album or two on an independent label to critical acclaim and good sales before they retain enough attention to get signed on a major label. This is where the red flags go up. not to say that a major label had anything to do with it, but this record, compared to the jagged brilliance of "Turn on the Bright Lights" and smooth touch of "Antics", the sound of this album is a major departure from the Interpol of old. Almost gone is the intricate basslines, the inventive drum patterns, and back and forth style between the guitars. With the new label and the new budget, we're introduced to horns, more prominent keyboard work, strings, etc. etc. Sometimes it works, but most of the time the extra instruments just come off as unneccasary. It just seems as if everything has been turned down a notch. The rhythym section has been damn near eliminated, with no real bass flair on this record, and drums that just seem to blend in track after track due to the lack of variety in time signatures from song to song. The guitars are front and center on this album, which wouldn't be a bad thing, except for the progressions don't vary much from song to song. After about 4 or 5 tracks, they all just blend into one another, with no real distinction between riffs, progressions, and leads. now there are still some good songs on this album, the best being the opener "Pioneer to the Falls". The song is reminicent of songs like "Untitled", with wavy, swirling guitar lines and a overpowering bass prescence, complimented by tight drumming. Another being the gleefully enjoyable "No I In Threesome", which has a great melody and chorus. The album doesn't move much, or get much better from that point however. it might be that they're evolving their sound, and I'm all for evolution and progression. But when you're used to an Interpol record that is varied and exciting, this one seems monotonous and dull.
Lyrics — 6
Once again, singer Paul Banks is back with his oddball lyrics and soaring vocals, which is never a bad thing. Once again, his best moment, lyrically and vocally, comes in the opener "Pioneer to the Falls". The rest of the album had some good ideas, ("No I In Threesome", "Mammoth", "Wrecking Ball", and "The Lighthouse"), it's just that they never really take off. It's not really fair to compare this album to "Antics" vocally, since he gave such a strong performance on that album, but expect much of the same vocal work on this album. Once again, some good ideas, but they never really impress.
Overall Impression — 5
It just seems that Interpol got lazy on this one. The songwriting isn't half of what they're capable of, and the chances they take on this record seem uninspired and unneeded. I'm not saying that it would be good to record another "Bright Lights" or "Antics", but this new record doesn't have the creativity, charisma, or intensity of their older material. not an absolutely awful album, but a low point in Interpol's catalogue. Compared to what Interpol is capable of, this is a dissapointment. I can only hope that their return to form won't take too long.