NYC grandees re­turn re­vived and at the peak of their pow­ers.

Q (UK) - - Contents -

It may be 17 years since their clas­sic de­but but the NYC band’s fire shows no sign of dim­ming.



You can, it is said, see things bet­ter from fur­ther away. It’s now 17 years since the first flash of the ear­ly­noughties New York rock scene, long enough to ro­man­ti­cise it, re­vive it and chron­i­cle it – as Lizzy Good­man’s oral his­tory Meet Me In The Bath­room proved last year with its en­light­en­ing tales of The Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and In­ter­pol, among many. What char­ac­terised the mu­sic of this time was its star­tling air of detachment – a de­li­cious, de­sirous malaise. It’s far away enough now to see what this scene of­fered af­ter the cosy parochial­ism of Brit­pop, and to recog­nise the cul­tural forces that sur­rounded it: 9/11, re­ces­sion, the le­gacy of Rudy Gi­u­liani, NYC’s an­tinightlife mayor. As well as to see that this was be­fore the age of Face­book or rolling news or even MyS­pace, when mo­bile phones were not ubiquitous or much cop. Six al­bums in, the world in which In­ter­pol write and record, and in which their al­bums are lis­tened to, has changed dra­mat­i­cally. The sound they pi­o­neered close to 20 years ago now runs up against an ar­ray of mod­ern-day chal­lenges: how do you main­tain detachment in an age of hy­per-con­nect­ed­ness? How do you up­hold an air of el­e­gant bore­dom in the era of app-skip­ping? On Ma­rauder, In­ter­pol have ap­proached th­ese dilem­mas by repli­cat­ing some of their ear­lier tricks: to record their de­but, Turn On The Bright Lights, the band left New York for Tar­quin Stu­dios in Con­necti­cut; this time they re­lo­cated to up­state New York. For the first time since 2007’ s Our Love To Ad­mire the band also em­ployed the ob­jec­tive ears of an out­side pro­ducer (Dave Frid­mann), who en­cour­aged them to record to two-inch tape, to avoid too many over-dubs or too much over-thought. Record and walk away.

This al­lur­ing mar­riage of cool dis­tance and fist-punched vis­cer­al­ity is done to per­fec­tion, but there is more here too. In many ways Ma­rauder is a con­tin­u­a­tion of the sound they brought to 2014’ s El Pin­tor – a grow­ing bold­ness of tex­ture that strays beyond the sleek con­tours of post-punk, and a warmth in its un­fa­mil­iar and fre­quently de­light­ful rhythms. It’s there on the driv­ing, gor­geous Sur­veil­lance, and also on Stay In Touch – in the bur­row­ing per­sis­tence of Daniel Kessler’s gui­tar and the clas­sic soul swag­ger of Sam Fog­a­rino’s drums, as Paul Banks sings of a fleet­ing love affair: “It was one time, and you’re a scent on the breeze ever since.” Pre­vi­ously Banks’s sto­ry­telling stood at an icy re­move, but here he presents his most per­sonal lyrics yet. At mo­ments the shift is quite star­tling – the new in­ti­macy in their lan­guage of “gala­vant­ing hearts” and how “electric yields to skin”, the con­fes­sional talk of “pawn­ing my days away” and of how you “reach out to empti­ness” when you sleep in the af­ter­noon. Banks has spo­ken of this al­bum’s sense of reck­on­ing, and par­tic­u­larly of how the ti­tle track tells of a man a lit­tle like his younger self who takes a

The al­lur­ing mar­riage of cool dis­tance and fist-punched vis­cer­al­ity is done to per­fec­tion.

pre­car­i­ous ap­proach to life, rav­aging friend­ships and re­la­tion­ships. This LP, he has said, is a farewell of sorts, a process of “giv­ing him a name and putting him to bed.” And per­haps this is the trick that In­ter­pol have pulled off so clev­erly here: Ma­rauder is not the sound of a group chas­ing lost sounds or long ago glo­ries, rather it is a band de­tach­ing it­self from its past, from a time that has long de­fined them; it is the sound of grow­ing older, closer and more open. Laura Bar­ton Lis­ten To: Stay In Touch | If You Re­ally Love Noth­ing | Sur­veil­lance

In­ter­pol (from left, Daniel Kessler, Paul Banks, Sam Fog­a­rin0): “older, closer and more open.”

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