A review of the Interpol album El Pintor.
Despite a tumultuous four years since last hearing from NYC’s Interpol in 2010, El Pintor wastes no time getting to the point. Interpol may have waved goodbye to founding bassist Carlos D in 2010 and been on hiatus since 2011, but from the moment the opening single “All The Rage Back Home” begins until the album’s finale, it’s classic Interpol staples: icy guitars, echoing baritone vocals and driving drums propel El Pintor without ever letting up. The band has returned to what they know best.
Recorded at Greenwich Village’s famed Electric Lady Studios and mixed by Alan Molder, the album features guest appearances by members of The Secret Machines and Bon Iver. Singer/guitarist, Paul Banks, takes over on bass in the studio and his difference in playing style from Carlos D is marked and even refreshing. Even though Interpol still draws heavily from influences like Joy Division and Echo and the Bunnymen, this album departs somewhat from their post-punk roots. The bass lines are much less Peter Hook-influenced and Daniel Kessler’s reverb-soaked guitars at times recall the distant, lonely sound of Billy Strange’s playing on Nancy Sinatra’s version of Bang Bang. Tracks “Same Town, New Story” and “My Blue Supreme” have bouncing rhythms where the bass and drums lock into perfect grooves that are sure to get a crowd moving during a live performance.
Still, one could argue that this anagram-titled album is not taking any risks. It’s true that the song structure and overall timbre of El Pintor
do not shy very far away from the band’s now twelve-year-old debut Turn On The Bright Lights
. It’s also true that this 40 minute LP does not have much variety in mood and in tempo. From beginning to end deep vocals hovering above cutting guitars and entrancing rhythms is what you get. Nevertheless, this is a beautiful snapshot of what Interpol has always done best: creating a hypnotic wash of animated and powerful, yet melancholic music.
Listen to a song by clicking on a title below: