CD Review: Interpol

Our Love to Admire Capitol
Music •• Sound ••••
It wasn't laziness that caused every critic to heap the Joy Division comparisons on New York City's Interpol when they first appeared. It was inevitable. Back then, on 2002's Turn On the Bright Lights, they did sound like imitators of the Great Ian Curtis Way. As the years pass and the group slowly evolves, the robotic beats and icy guitars shift toward pliant, dancefloor-friendly rhythms and less severe, atmospheric guitars that shriek into the night. And now it's time for a different kind of comparison. By way of the blues, the Rolling Stones became, well, America's Greatest Rock & Roll Band. Similarly, through 1980s New Wave, Interpol aim to one day be among Britain's most esteemed names. Should they master the songwriting end of this equation, they have a fair shot.

Our Love to Admire, their third album, continues where 2004's Antics left off. Nothing is greatly advanced. Riffs sound vaguely familiar. Only the band's spirited enthusiasm and attention to sonic detail make the lackluster melodies easier to overlook. Guitarist Daniel Kessler stakes out those riffs, making each note ring with fierce totalitarian dominance. For "All Fired Up," the band marches in lockstep behind him. After that, "Rest My Chemistry" and "Who Do You Think?" are more like ensemble pieces, with garage-rock chords pumping furiously into the shimmering but massive sonic cauldron, where singer Paul Banks can barely make himself heard above the din.

And this is where things fall apart. That din overpowers the individuals until the songs bleed into one another without distinguishing themselves. Even the album's most notable track - its closing cut, "The Lighthouse" - is a wispy piece of 4AD ethereal doom in search of a melody. Produced by the band with Rich Costey (Franz Ferdinand, The Mars Volta), Our Love to Admire sounds big, loud, and brash, but the band needs to back up these poses with something memorable.

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