Skip to main content

Featured Post

Amazon's Black Friday Sale Begins: See What's On Offer

Amazon's Black Friday Sale is finally here. Here are some of the best deals on now.
We've had our fingers poised over our keyboards long enough in anticipation of Amazon's Black Friday Sale, which went live at midnight and will last until 25 November.

Interpol - Marauder Music Album Reviews

On their sixth record, the New York band is stuck in a Medium Mood and a new producer doesn’t help energize their increasingly frozen-in-time sound.

More than any of their frenemies in the 2000s indie-rock tell-all Meet Me in the Bathroom, Interpol understood the power of a unified front. They’ve survived parting ways with the only guy in the band who clearly wanted to be a celebrity, a widely mocked dalliance with a major label, a rap mixtape by frontman Paul Banks called Everyone on My Dick Like They Supposed to Be that actually happened, and another Banks rap album on Warner Bros. that actually happened after that, mostly proving the adage that 80 percent of success is simply showing up. Their return to Matador resulted in two essentially self-titled albums that were variously lauded as “returns to form”—an objective truth, since Interpol outlasted all of their contemporaries and soundalikes to be the only game left in town. Survival has been a pretty good look for them, and with Marauder, they act on their newfound surplus of goodwill by conducting something other than business as usual.

The album has them enlisting a plus-value producer for the first time since Antics in MGMT and Flaming Lips guru Dave Fridmann, and then there’s the “concept” behind it. According to Banks, Marauder is voiced from the perspective of a titular character who represents, “the portion of your personality that isn’t really concerned with accountability and just kind of does.” The irony is that most people have always chosen to see Interpol as brooding hedonists in the first place.

But Marauder is definitely Interpol’s most topical project, and maybe their only one—pervasive societal cynicism (“If You Really Love Nothing”), social media desperation (“Party’s Over”), the ghost of Prince (“NYSMAW”), and third-eye-in-the-sky theorizing (“Surveillance”), is all new territory for the group. (The illicit tryst of “Stay in Touch” is not.) Then again, Banks and the “Marauder” don’t seem so different. “The Rover” isn’t a Led Zeppelin cover, but “I can keep you in artwork, the fluid kind” is phrased and sung with Banks’ own rock’n’roll virility. It’s genius or ridiculous nonsense, or most likely, the kind of ridiculous genius nonsense that Banks writes because it sounds both profound and absurd at the same time—the true essence of an Interpol song.

For too long, people have attempted to mock Banks’ lyrics simply by quoting them, but we should know better by now. He was taken far more seriously than he should have at the start, and he’s actually way funnier and more self-aware than he’s ever given credit for. “Ella, Teletext or you can call me/Galavanting heart,” “Like Prince sang in Tennessee/I wanna drive with you down there to Alphabet Street,” these are the words of someone leaning into their reputation as a wine-soaked Manhattan dandy rather than combating it. Or, the way he cheekily acknowledges the “back to basics” narrative of Marauder: “Rock’n’roll, bitch/I’m into it/Let me show you my stuff.”

The most distinct parts of Marauder likewise result from Interpol doing Interpol things as loosely as possible—Daniel Kessler has become one of the most distinctive guitarists of the 21st century by simply playing straight eighth-note leads, and drummer Sam Fogarino is the broad-shouldered classic rocker. These two things are still true, but when they slacken just the slightest bit, Interpol can actually sound the slightest bit bluesy (“The Rover”) or funky (“It Probably Matters”). Then again, the near absence of any notable bass save for an occasional synth blob shows that they haven’t even tried to replace Carlos D (recall that a working title for Turn on the Bright Lights was Celebrated Basslines of the Future suggested by Carlos D of course). It’s all immediately identifiable as Interpol, and even if they can’t convincingly do “loose,” it’s at least dressed down. This is how Turn on the Bright Lights might’ve sounded from a band that looked and acted more like the Strokes.

But this isn’t a band that ever impressed through sonic innovation, or lyrics that speak to universal emotional truths, or inventive melodies, or even being cool; everything from the suits to the stylized typography to Turn on the Bright Lights’ lush production to the opening gigs for U2 smacked of effort and ambition. Despite the temptation to nostalgize Interpol as a bastion of a druggier, sexier, and more sinister version of indie rock that wouldn’t last a day in these more morally circumspect times, they essentially served the same purpose as the more benign and scandal-free War on Drugs or Tame Impala: They are a carefully curated vibe. It’s an elusive quality. At their best, Interpol speaks to the feeling of invincibility among the ruins of your life, rising like a phoenix from the ashes and coke residue of one’s early 20s. Or, on Antics, the seductive power of holding onto that ideal in spite of a growing body of evidence to the contrary.

For the past 15 years, Interpol have tried to either replicate this vibe or find another to replace it. The band is stuck in a Medium Mood, and most of the blame on Maurader lies with Fridmann’s mix; my burned CD copy of 128 kbps Turn on the Bright Lights mp3s had less digital clipping. Marauder was recorded to 2-inch magnetic tape without ProTools in the interest of recapturing some of the intuitive electricity of Bright Lights, but the actual mix is so compressed, doughy, and airless, it might as well come packaged inside a Grands! biscuit tin. That said, it’s certainly more appealing than their previous records, which were defined by their various forms of malaise. Marauder is the least-bad Interpol album in more than a decade, but that still doesn’t make it great. Interpol were once able to transmute urban ennui into something so transcendent, even the most sheltered and secure suburban kids understood. On Marauder, there’s a new kind of emptiness, of hearing an Interpol album that doesn’t really seem concerned with doing better than “good enough.”


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Popular posts from this blog

LG G5 Review In-Depth

Can LG take on the Galaxy S7 with a metal design, dual-cameras and an accessory slot? Here's our first LG G5 review, focusing on LG G5 design and build, LG G5 specs, LG G5 cameras and LG G5 software and apps.
Alongside the Galaxy S7, the LG G5 is one of the biggest phones (not literally) to launch in 2016 – and we're not just talking in the Android world. It's one of the heavyweights and LG will be looking to set the market alight with the G5's alternative and innovative modular design.

Oppo RX17 Pro Review: Hands-on

We had time with Oppo’s new RX17 Pro. It may be blue and purple but how different is it to the similar OnePlus 6T and is it worth your time?
Should I Buy The Oppo RX17 Pro?
Oppo has made a solid mid-range phone in the RX17 Pro. Build quality is premium, fast charging is industry-best fast and the display is of high quality.But the price is high at 599€ considering the OnePlus 6T with a better processor starts at £499/€529. And while functioning as it’s supposed to, ColorOS is still unrefined for the western market with far too many changes to Android to recommend over competitors.

BlackBerry KEYone Review

BlackBerry soliders on with a curious Android device that gets nearly everything right. It’s not for everyone though, in fact, it’s not really for anyone. But if you want a physical keyboard you will absolutely love it.
Should I Buy The BlackBerry KEYone?
But then, the KEYone is the best BlackBerry phone for years. It has (finally) successfully melded classic BlackBerry design with the necessary mix of Android and nostalgia. Importantly, the latter is only faint this time – this is a device for 2017, not 2007.If you love your iPhone or Samsung, you’ll hate the KEYone and won’t even consider buying it. But if you’ve made it to the end of this review, chances are you’re weighing up a buy. If you think you’ll love the BlackBerry KEYone, then I’m pretty certain you won’t be disappointed. You’re part of a minority, but finally BlackBerry has a phone for you that doesn’t force you to compromise.

Google Pixel Review

Not everyone wants a phone with a big screen, but most small-screen phones compromise on performance and cameras. Not so with Google’s latest flagship Android phone: Here’s our Google Pixel review.
Joining the ranks of the Pixel C and Chromebook Pixel are Google’s new Pixel phones. We’re reviewing the smaller 5in Pixel here, but you can read our separate Pixel XL review if you’re after a bigger phone.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 Review

Is there more to the Surface Laptop 2 than a lick of black paint? Find out in our full review.
Should I Buy The Microsoft Surface Laptop 2? The Surface Laptop 2 is a slightly odd one as it's not a huge upgrade on the original. That said, it comes in at the same price with a few upgrades and the new black colour.You get an 8th-gen Intel processor giving a nice performance boost as well as double the memory for the entry-level model. Battery life is a little down in our test but it's still a decent effort making this still one of the best laptop around.

Like Fan Page