It seemed Interpol were on a path where they were coasting; ending up no more than a nostalgic thought of how good they used to be. Just think, how many bands have delivered a couple of highly vaunted albums then only to disappear into obscurity? ‘Our Love To Admire’ wasn’t a bad album, but it certainly never could claim to hold a torch to ‘Antics ‘or ‘Turn On the Bright Lights’.
The self-titled forth album further emphasised a decline. Significantly, ‘El Pintor’ finds Interpol now a trio, minus their influential bass player Carlos Dengler. It’s a tribute to Interpol that they have stuck together looking to push themselves forward, and this change in the formation has provided the band with the necessary shot in the arm they needed.
‘El Pintor’ opens with the magnificent All The Rage Back Home. It’s an intro track that ticks all the right boxes of what constitutes classic Interpol. Daniel Kessler’s repetitious ringing guitar – check; Sam Fogarino’s pulsating drumming – yup, here; Paul Banks’ atmospheric vocals – present and correct. There are plenty of high points that follow after All The Rage Back Home. Tidal Wave, Ancients, Anywhere and Blue Supreme all provide further evidence that this is a band re-energised and invigorated. There is a fine balance of immediately catchy songs to those that seep in over time. That’s a hallmark of superior albums.
While ‘El Pintor’ doesn’t quite reach the heights of ‘Turn On The Bright Lights’ or ‘Antics’ it is a welcome return to form. What stops it short is that songs like My Desire and Breaker 1 never really gain a foothold in your ears, while Twice As Hard is a limp way to end the album. Those missteps are in the minority. Interpol have provided a timely reminder that they are a still a vital act and a long way off being placed within the list of bands who we regard as has-beens.