Interpol reclaims sound of first two LPs on fuller, lush self-titled fourth album

Interpol’s third album, was the embodiment of the indie music fan’s deepest fear: that signing to a major label is tantamount to a band losing its way.

With a slicker sound via greater reliance on keyboards and textures, “Our Love to Admire,” the New York band’s Capitol debut, was certainly a departure from its first two records. “Turn on the Bright Lights” in 2002 and “Antics” in 2004 were were angular, dark and cool, and some fans weren’t thrilled with the new direction.

Interpol isn’t necessarily saying it agrees, but it’s worth noting that the band releases its self-titled fourth album on Matador, the indie label that put out the group’s first two.

“Nobody dislikes the record, but it was kind of a touchstone to then use as a springboard,” drummer Sam Fogarino told Listen, Dammit, earlier this summer in an interview.

“Interpol” features many of the elements that made the first two albums so compelling: swirling curtains of trebly guitar punctuated with icy, stabbing shards, soaring vocals buoyed up on waves of reverb and propulsive rhythms. There’s also judicious use of keyboard: dreamy piano notes at the start of “Summer Welll,” downhearted and foreboding minor-key chords anchoring “Always Malaise (The Man I Am)” and a spare trill running through “Try It On.”

In many ways, the new record splits the difference between the murky chill of the first two records and the glossier sound of the third. It’s not a return to form so much as an expansion of it, and the result is a collection of songs that retain the bite of Interpol’s early material while wreathing it in fuller, lusher soundscapes.

— Text by Eric R. Danton, photo by Jelle Wagenaar

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