August 21, 2002

Move Into My Airspace

[Interpol album cover]

I was going to write about something else, but I can't stop listening to the new Interpol album that I picked up yesterday. (Consonant redux.) Not too surprising, given that I've been waiting for this one ever since I first saw the band back in June. It was the first time in a long time I could remember making a point of purchasing an album on the release date. Not only that, but I hit three different record stores until I found one which had it in (Other Music, of course).

Turn On The Bright Lights is brilliant -- beautiful and melancholy melodies that sparkle with a cool prettiness, then pull you into the undertow. Lyrically oblique, obsessive meditations on fucked-up relationships are perfectly matched with a musical intensity driven as much by the jagged, percussive guitar riffs as the sinuous bass and whip-crack drums.

Opener "Untitled" creeps in on icicle guitars before sliding into a slow churn of circling bass and beats and additional layers of guitars that hover and drop in and out. A repeated, insistent double-stroke guitar riff introduces the next song, "Obstacle 1," and singer Paul Banks measures out equal parts contempt and regret, his voice barely-controlled -- claustrophobia never sounded so good. Later in the album, companion piece "Obstacle 2" picks up the narrative with the following statement of intent: I'm going to pull you in close/Going to wrap you up tight. Then the quiet caveat delivered as a repeating refrain: If you can fix me up, girl/We'll go a long way. Relationship as reclamation project, endurance test.

But it's an irresistibly sexy aura of resigned inevitability that Interpol create, conveyed through pulsating basslines that manage to raise an eyebrow while evoking a sigh. I can't help but get pulled into their drama, but isn't that what the best records always manage to do?

Posted by nstop at August 21, 2002 11:13 PM


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