There’s no reason an Interpol record in 2014 should be good, right? Their last two records were middling and mostly boring. They’ve lost a founding member. Frontman Paul Banks put out a terrible hip-hop mixtape. (If you don’t know anything about Interpol, they’re mostly moody post-punk, which is why Paul Banks should not be making hip-hop.) I know that sounds harsh, but I really loved their first two LPs and had felt so let down by Interpol recently that I found myself only vaguely intrigued when I first heard about this record.
So I was stoked beyond belief when it turned out that El Pintor absolutely rules.
You know this almost immediately as the spare riff for opener and first single “All the Rage Back Home” gives way to a catchy, chugging rocker a million times more energetic and immediate than anything on the last two LPs. “My Desire,” is full of intricate and intriguing parts, building and building to a wonderful, tense climax. “Ancient Ways” is another barnstormer with a great opening salvo, “Oh, fuck the ancient ways.” The songs may not reach the heights of their classic debut, Turn Off the Bright Lights, but there’s not a filler track in sight.
Gone and sadly missed are Paul Banks’ poetic but ultimately kinda silly non-sequitur lyrics (like past winners “Oh look, it stopped snowing” or “Her stories are boring and stuff.”) In turn, it’s replaced with more straightforward stuff and songs where the song title is the chorus, which is actually a rarity among Interpol songs.
Alright, guys, you hooked me back in. Don’t mess it up again.
– Layne Montgomery