Interpol : “El Pintor”

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As the titular anagram of Interpols name suggests, El Pintor refocuses and realigns the fundamentals of the bands music. Where their 2010 self-titled album split the difference between back-to-basics post-punk and lavish experiments, on their fifth album and first without former bassist Carlos Dengler Paul Banks, Daniel Kessler, and Sam Fogarino hone things even further. El Pintor is Interpols shortest album, and its music is the closest to the ideal form of the bands sound: Kesslers guitar swings between prodding, angular lines and dreamy washes; Fogarino provides crisp punctuation; and Banks yearning-yet-authoritative baritone gives more form to abstract lyrics such as There is a slope like an appetite (Banks also steps in for Dengler, and does an able, if slightly less distinctive, job). Throughout the album, the trio, joined by Secret Machines Brandon Curtis, delivers archetypal examples of many of its sounds. El Pintors opening track, All the Rage Back Home, even combines the bands extremes into one song, pitting dreamy verses against pulse-pounding choruses with results that are catchier than anything on Interpol. Elsewhere, My Desire showcases their flair for spring-loaded guitars that build into a skyward rush; Anywhere and Ancient Ways define their driving rock; and My Blue Supreme and Breaker 1 typify their chilly ballads. That said, the band also leave a little room for experimentation. Same Town New Storys skipping beat nods to Banks fondness for hip-hop, while its velvety yet tense guitars and keyboards give it a more mysterious, open-ended feel than many songs here. Later on, Twice as Hard makes a brief return to Interpols orchestral flirtations, incorporating strings and piano into its massive finale. However, what sets El Pintor apart from what came before it is the spirit animating its songs. Even during the albums darkest, most angst-ridden tracks, like the gorgeously despairing Tidal Wave and Everything Is Wrong, Interpol often sound less urgent, and sometimes less immediately compelling, than the highlights of their more uneven albums. Even if it doesnt have as much of the jagged need that sparked their best work, El Pintor is Interpols most consistent album since Antics; fans who love the band for its pure sound will probably enjoy it more than those looking for stop-you-in-your-tracks moments.

Released September 8, 2014
Recorded 2014
Studio Electric Lady Studios(New York, New York) Atomic Sound(New York, New York)
Length 39:50
Label Matador Soft Limit
Producer Interpol

Paul Banks – vocals, rhythm guitar, bass guitar
Daniel Kessler – lead guitar, piano
Sam Fogarino – drums, percussion

  1. All the Rage Back Home 4:22
  2. My Desire 5:00
  3. Anywhere 3:12
  4. Same Town New Story 4:09
  5. My Blue Supreme 3:09
  6. Everything Is Wrong 3:32
  7. Breaker 1 4:13
  8. Ancient Ways 3:00
  9. Tidal Wave 4:18
  10. Twice as Hard 4:56