Tuesday, February 19, 2008

turn on the bright lights - interpol

Describe the words that come into your head when listening to this album?
Melancholy, introspective, gloomy, mournful, languishing, obscure, hopeful, complicated

How would you describe Paul Bank's singing?
Not lacking in emotion as such but seeking to detach himself from anything that messy, often failing to do so. A cross between a human and a dalek.

How would you describe the instruments?
The guitar parts are melodic and tuneful, often pondorous (like on Leif Erikson) which is connected to the sense of melancholy. I have not paid much attention to the bass line but it rumbles pleasantly beneath the surface. The drums are not a huge feature either, not sure if they are that exciting as drums go?

How do you feel about the lyrics?
I am not sure if they are wilfully obilque but most times I have no idea what they are going on about. Poetical you might call them, or two clever by half if you dislike that kind of thing. It doesn't lessen my enjoyment as I am fond of bands who try to be too clever, maybe it's kind of an endearing failing. I would say that my favourite lyrics are in 'Obstacle 1' which I cannot decide between 'she can read, she's bad' and 'she can't read she's bad' which would bring two completely different meanings to the song. I cannot bear to find out what the lyrics are actually are as I am more inclined towards 'She can't read, she's bad' and I suspect it's all wrong.

What would you say were your favourite songs?
'Obstacle 1' , 'Untitled' (immediately upon hearing this I knew I would love the album), 'Say Hello to the Angels,' 'PDA' and 'Leif Erikson.' Obstacle 1 and PDA are the most upbeat songs however they unsettle in terms of the lyrics (e.g. 'we have 200 couches where you can sleep tonight' - is this referring to a traumatic stay in hospital?) yet they puzzle me the most in terms of their subject matter - just what is being sung at the end of PDA? 'Say Hello to the Angels' is more schizophrenic with its changes of pace and surprisingly cheeky lyrics 'I can't control the part of me which swells up when you move into my air space.' This combats the idea that Interpol are dour and lacking in humour. Leif Erikson on the other hand is affecting and tender.

And your least favourite?
Probably 'Stella was a diver and she was always down' which has a fabulous title but I quickly tired of the actual song since it seems to go on and on in an uninteresting manner. I haven't listened to it for a long time however so I might revise this harsh opinion.

Would you think there is much mileage in the accusation that Interpol sound like Joy Division?
I guess there are more similarities than differences in terms of the atmospheres and moods created in the songs. However I think Joy Division are more abrasive and unsettling. Interpol can be intense yet they lack the spirit of punk I think which seems to permeate Joy Division; although not being that familiar with Joy Division's music as I only own one album I would have to reflect for longer about my response to this question. I would say that Interpol draw on the late 70s, early 80s new wave/new pop influences which I am currently diving head first into and that is not a bad thing!

Any final thoughts?
I bought this album after reading a review in NME and seeing an image of the band in their suits and I was not disappointed. There are some good ideas and it struck a chord in me at the time, which continues to reverberate now. I don't think it will become one of those CDs I am embarrassed to own!

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