Interpol shows stylistic consistency with ‘Marauder’

Eddie Velasquez, Contributor

With the release of their sixth studio album, Marauder, late 90s New York rock staple Interpol shows its age both for better and for worse.

On one hand, once heralded rock music messiah Paul Banks’ transition as a bassist solidifies the now legendary lineup.

On the other… nothing has really changed since the release of Marauder’s predecessor, 2014’s El Pintor.

This is telling because El Pintor was much maligned and praised for being a return to form in terms of the band’s characteristic sound that made critics label Interpol the founders of indie rock.

The reality is that Interpol’s post-punk sound, accompanied by Banks’ iconic voice is just as good as it was in 2004 when the then-quartet was at the height of its powers. With that being said, their attempt to innovate on this now 21-year-old sound is too subtle to be refreshing.

Throughout the duration of this 11-track LP, Guitarist Daniel Kessler pulls out all the stops with the highly reverbed guitars riffs and low wattage amps that fans have come to know and love. Drummer Sam Fogarino continues to deliver stellar complementary performances for Banks, while the singer’s second time handling the role as a bassist is actually one of this record’s biggest strengths.

As the main lyricist, Banks told Rolling Stone on their podcast that the transition had completely solidified for him and that the synergy between the bassline and the lyrics was comfortably into its own.

In fact, Banks’ vocal range and self-exploration as a vocalist is one of the subtle highlights of this record.

One of the tracks that features a more experimental vocal style is the first single “The Rover.” The track opens with an emblematic guitar riff that will remind long-time fans of something pulled out of their 2004 album Antics.

Thematically, Marauder aims to describe futile relationships, social issues within political organisms, autonomy as an individual at a time when the world seems too interconnected and other topics related to the complexity of interpersonal relationships

Lyrically speaking, “Surveillance” and “NYSMAW” are two of Interpol’s more emotionally intense recordings in a few years.

“Surveillance” is told through the perspective of a person fighting to reclaim their freedom of thought. “One day we will not just be defending our right to privacy and free-speech. But we may someday find ourselves defending our freedom of thought,” Banks said in an interview with NPR regarding “Surveillance”.

“NYSMAW” is a more intimate track, where one partner wonders if and is defrauded by the notion that they might never actually fully know their partner at the level they would like. The song features ponderous lines such as “give me the oversight inside the other/give me the oversight inside the fantasy,” and the closing “now you’ve seen me at work/are you, excited dear.”

While Interpol’s sound has always been accessible and catchy; the baritone crooning, delicately abrasive guitars and the impeccable synergy between percussion and bassline make for a true and tried formula that might be starting to feel stagnant after two decades of meteoric success.

 

Rated: 7/10