I’ve avoided all reviews of Interpol, Interpol’s fourth CD. I needed to listen alone and without another person’s preconceived notions, as Interpol has remained a favorite band of mine. Even if Interpol were a disaster, they’d remain a favorite, but I can say the CD is as sumptuous as their previous work (I thought Our Love to Admire was brilliant too).
There’s huge sorrow in these songs. That the first Interpol single was “Barricade” (I would not just leave you without a kiss/ But I guess there must come a time/ When there’s no more tears to cry/ Thieves and snakes need homes, need homes) sets you up for the connective themes of loss and failure. “Always Malaise” carries this too. You think it might be a song about becoming a better person, but that attempt just causes discomfort. “Safe Without” begins with (I’m not the hero out the gate) and “Memory Serves” recalls abuse (It would be no price to pay/ Hit me again) and “Success” constructs the fear of exposure within the water theme singer/writer Paul Banks excels at (What safety can you find?/ If the sea was that strong). I think my favorite tracks might be “Try it On” with its lovely piano and “All of the Ways”. “Try it On” is probably the most romantic one on the album, even so, it’s strangely defeatist (I’ll put my keys back/ There’s no change/ And nowhere to stay).
The CD ends with “The Undoing,” which turns out to be a song of survival. Interpol’s songs, with their graceful guitars, have a great balance to them.