Interpol– El Pintor

Released: 9/8/2014
4/7 stars

Since the advent of the post-punk-revival era, catapulting groups like The Strokes and Franz Ferdinand to mega commercial fame, Interpol has never done anything to differentiate themselves from the stereotype of this genre being inherently shallow. Interpol has always been one of those bands that writes really catchy yet incredibly, almost comically shallow songs. But sometimes that’s what listeners want– the dreary, dismal sound of post-punk without the substance.

Without having to slump into the depths of egocentric Top 40 hits, lyrics about new brand names that I can’t even begin to pronounce, listeners can have the same feeling by listening to lead singer Paul Banks’ croon about his hetero-male problems. “El Pintor,” Interpol’s newest release and the first in four years, feels no different, no more intellectually stimulating or surprising than their preceding four albums, and maybe that’s ok.

Although they’re not pushing themselves in remotely any interesting or new direction, “El Pintor” does make good filler music, e.g. when eating a lackluster sandwich in Wright, getting pushed into the grass by three people walking shoulder-to-shoulder on the Ballantine sidewalks, etc., and I mean this genuinely. Interpol has always been, and will continue to be, one of those bands that if you don’t think about their lyrics too much, their aesthetic and riff borrowing from much stronger groups, and overall banality and repetitiveness, then the group, and their newest album, makes for a good listen.

“All The Rage Back Home,” the opening track, is upbeat and has that typical early Interpol sound that makes for an enjoyable listen. Strong too is the following track, “My Desire,” again revisiting the successful, Joy Division-lite sound they created on “Turn On The Bright Lights” that made the group such an instant hit, and which remains the worthwhile focal point their discography.

After these two songs, the album quickly plummets into either uninteresting or just relatively sub-par territory. Specifically the lowest point of this album exists in “Tidal Wave,” the ninth track which features an oddly falsetto Banks, cumbersome repetition and some weird synth-y sounds that are entirely out-of-place, feeling like an appeal to listeners of today rather than their original fanbase, listeners of 2004.

The only new direction the group appears to exploring besides that which was previously mentioned is using the unmistakable font of all Vampire Weekend’s releases on this album cover. Other than that, the album is fairly repetitive, utilizing sounds and tropes that other albums and other groups have done more effectively. “El Pintor” is one of those releases that exists as a good starter to finding more interesting, somewhat-related groups to listen to.

Must listens:
All The Rage Back Home
My Desire