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Interpol: Turn on the Bright Lights

Posted by July 31st, 2002 No Comments »

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Album Review
Interpol Turn on the Bright Lights

On their debut album, Turn On The Bright Lights, New York City’s Interpol (an acronym for “International Police Organization”) play savior to the very hearts they are setting out to break; whether by design or not, their soul-wrenching songs have a good chance of making you feel like you need to be saved.

Musically, Interpol combine stylish defiance with mournful wailing and aggressively blasé attitudes to great effect. Think The Psychedelic Furs or early Cure with a smidgen of David Byrne’s vocal stylings thrown in for good measure. Classic reference points aside, the group pull off some very fresh elements. Like many of today’s neo-garage bands, Interpol purposely streamline the production, resulting in a more direct communication between band and listener.

The tension between creating a consistent, identifiable sound and the actual variety of musical themes found on this album is staggering. “Hands Away” is a rising, atmospheric progression, while “NYC” creates a feeling of swaying back and forth as you descend to the ground. “PDA” is probably the most propulsive, exciting song on the album, as well as the most quotable (“You’re so cute when you’re frustrated, dear. You’re so cute when you’re sedated… dear?”)

All of the elements are in place for Interpol. Paul Banks’ vocals are strong and upfront. The interplay between the guitars is near perfect. The rhythm section, often overlooked by guitar-driven bands, is absolutely astounding. This level of musicianship is rare in a debut album. The songs seem to create a longing for someone to drive away the darkness that is created… a longing to Turn On The Bright Lights. – (8/10)

(Editor’s note: In addition to being a regular contributor to Nada Mucho, Will Wagler fronts Seattle alt-rock band The Glasses. We love him anyway.)

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