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Interpol self-titled better as background music

By Matt De Marco, Staff Writer

Television promo music—simple melodies, composed of boring, repetitive, distorted guitar riffs, blasé drum fills and monotonic vocals; it's what you hear whenever you see a commercial for a new, generic, sure-to-fail television series on ABC. Lucky for ABC, Interpol's newest self-titled album consists entirely of some very good television promo music.

That's not to say that the music is bad…it's just not very good, either. It's just kind of there.

While each track starts out differently, by the end of each song, they all sound nearly identical, with the exception of one or two. This creates a very boring album. Nowhere on the album was there a "climax," or a point where the listener would say, "Oh, wow, that was amazing." Granted, Interpol is an indie band, and the entire point of indie music is to stray from the norm and explore music's more abstract areas, but even the most abstract music has to have some appeal—something to make the listener want more. "Interpol" has none of that.

That's not to take away from the musicianship behind the album. Daniel Kessler, Carlos Dengler and Sam Fogarino are each clearly proficient behind their instrument of choice—guitar, bass guitar and drums, respectively—but, aside from an impressive drum/guitar intro on "Safe Without," there was nothing that proved that they were anything more than just proficient musicians. There were no instrumental solos, no dramatic changes in rhythm or melody, no musical risks. Each song was just the same musical pattern played over and over again. This repetitiveness made for an album that got "real old, real quick."

The main issue with this album was the band's lead singer, Paul Banks. Frankly, the talent just isn't there. In each of the album's 10 songs, Banks demonstrated no vocal range or anything to suggest that he's actually an adequate singer; for the majority of the album, he's either mumbling or groaning, making it incredibly difficult to understand what he's saying. It just doesn't make for good music.

The album's lead single, "Barricade," is pretty much a perfect embodiment of all of these points. The song opens with a simple guitar/drum intro which then repeats as we get into the song's first verse. The pattern changes ever-so-slightly as the song enters the chorus, yet it's still boring. This "AB" pattern continues throughout the song, offering no climactic point, no "oomph."

"Interpol," frankly, is a let down of an album. The band has the capability of creating great music—their last album, "Our Love to Admire," debuted at number four on the Billboard 200 chart—but they've since lost that recipe for success.

Interpol’s self titled new album fails in comparison to previous releases. Their last album debuted at #4 on Billboard. (Photo Courtesy of Matador Records)

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