Saturday, April 30, 2011

Interpol - Lights

2010 was a good year for me in regards to music, many of my favourite modern groups released albums, and among them Interpol released their self-titled album. This is Interpol’s fourth album, and it being the self-titled album is kind of funny but this is hardly the first time a band has had their self-titled album be something other than their first.

Interpol was going through a transition, bass player Carlos Dengler was preparing to leave the group and after their third album “Our Love to Admire,” there was tension in regards to creativity. Paul Banks (lead singer and rhythm guitar) was not pleased with the scene they had fallen into, many bands go through this once they become popular, “Our Love to Admire,” was the first album to get nationwide attention upon release. Paul was taking the potential threat of “selling out” so badly he was even considering moving to New Jersey, which he may have done for all I know, but the point is they were New York’s new big band to love, so that move would have been a big move.

“Interpol” the album is similar to “Our Love to Admire,” insofar that it does not compare to their first two albums, there is a solid consistency of quality throughout both albums but neither are awe inspiring like “Turn on the Bright Lights,” and “Antics,” except for one song, “Lights.” Sometimes that all it takes, one song to rekindle our faith in a band, I was ready to get used to the idea that Interpol had already pasted their prime after two albums (which isn’t at all uncommon) and I would have to enjoy good but not great music from them from now on. “Lights,” is a different story, it’s the only song on the last two albums that as good as any song on the first two albums.

“Lights” does something I love, it builds itself up, it starts out slow and the rhythm never changes but the tempo does. At first, slow and calm and by the end fast and intense, this is one of those songs that really should be listened too on high volume; it will help you notice the change in tempo and also in volume. Interpol is very much a band of small details if you listen to “Lights” on a higher volume you are more likely to catch some of these subtleties.

Like all Interpol songs the lyrics are deep and mysterious, leaving any guess for interpretation as good as any other. The video is strange visuals, intense strange visuals of course, and perhaps a specifically intended meaning lies within. I had heard that the video was a visualisation of medical/chemical process but I can’t remember what it was and I can no longer find information about it. It would figure for Interpol to do something that far out, but whether or not that is the case I do not know.

Until next month, keep on rocking in the free world.

- Colin Kelly

Monday, April 11, 2011

Interpol - Not Even Jail

It was four years ago I talked about New York’s Interpol. It was a band I always wanted to revisit, because their first two albums were just incredible, having mentioned one track off the first album, “Turn on the Bright Lights,” I knew eventually I would have to talk about their second album, “Antics.”

It was a sweet moment in my life when I saw Interpol – Evil on Much Music. At that point in my life I had pretty much given up any hope of ever seeing a good music video again, but here was this puppet in a car crash wincing and irking as it sang the lyrics to the song. Nothing special really, but I really enjoyed seeing the range of emotion they could muster from slightly twisting a puppet’s face, and even more so I enjoyed the song.

I felt really cool when I bought the album “Antics,” they were playing it at the music store (not HMV, it was something else in TD square that went out of business), and I said “Hey it’s Interpol.”

The guy at the till replied “yeah, their new album is amazing.”

I believe I said, “Alright, let’s dance,” and proceeded to buy the album on display. I guess I could have grabbed a copy from the shelf, but social grace is a mystery to me.

It was one of those impulse buys that works out so well you brag about it, as if your courage to buy an album you knew very little about made it all the better. That’s what “Antics” was for me, one of many successful impulse buys, and if you hung out with me in 2007 you probably heard me talking about Interpol.

“Antics” is one of the best albums of the last ten years, if you haven’t listened to it yet you have done yourself a disfavour.

Like all great albums I struggle picking out a single song, something of a reoccurring theme here at Music in Review. “Evil” seems like an obvious choice because it was the song that lured me in, but I feel “Evil” is my second favourite on the album. Interpol does a really good job with their rhythm and lead guitar, the rhythm uses simple rifts that become comfortably repetitive while the song grows around the lead guitar, which also uses simple cords to pull you in and ready you for sharp change in the tempo, and the best example of this is “Not Even Jail.”

Like all Interpol songs the lyrics are deep and profound and even a little confusing, which is a good thing it creates this wonderful sense of mystery to the true story being told to us. I have my own interpretation of “Not Even Jail,” but my insights could serve no better than your own, travel this song on your own and let me know what you think.

I do wonder what people would take away from “Not Even Jail,” the opening cord is almost jarring, the first building block in a masterpiece, but enough to shock away any pop music puppet. Despite the simplicity in the majority of their songwriter Interpol’s music is somehow unfriendly to those who do not let the songs pull them in, so I suggest to you, let yourself get pulled into “Not Even Jail.”

Until later this month, keep on rocking in the free world.

- Coin Kelly