Interpol – Our Love To Admire
Record Label: Capitol Records
Release Date: July 10, 2007
You’d think all the love and respect Interpol receives would brighten their spirits a bit. Still, happiness isn’t anywhere near the emotion we expect to feel when Paul Banks finishes a song with his characteristically dismal delivery. Rather, I place a handkerchief right next to my Ipod whenever delving into an Interpol pity party. And I love it. Even when the lyrics are hazy or bizarre, I somehow know what I’m supposed feel. Plagued. Uncertain. But most of all, fulfilled.
Our Love To Admire wriggles free of prior Interpol releases just before snapping back towards its roots. We are never transported to a new and wonderful world as we are most definitely still in New York City. Whereas Turn On The Bright Lights might have focused on the subway system late at night, Our Love To Admire resembles a cloudy day aboveground. Figuratively speaking, of course. “Rest My Chemistry” feels poppier, upbeat even, but the mood is anything but: “I’ve slept for days / Bathed in nothing but sweat / And I’ve made hallways scenes for things to regret.” As I listen to this song, I can’t help but think of the same, horribly nondescript phrase, “That’s just so Interpol.” Stupid, yes, but I have a hunch many of you know the exact feeling.
Perhaps the most post-punkish track, “The Heinrich Maneuver” features Banks at his most energetic along with a dancey-hipster riff. “Mammoth” feels rushed and exasperated, but never forced. “Pace Is The Trick” (my favorite song) recalls Turn On, which makes me completely biased towards the track. I am happy, however, that I was never forced to pause Our Love To Admire and listen to, say, “Obstacle 1.” This album feels like a natural progression, a natural improvement. Black is still the color of Interpol, but there are now dashes of green (“There’s No I in Threesome”) and dark, dark blue (“Pioneer To The Falls”).
Each album I review contains conflict. After all, where would the fun be without a struggle? Our Love To Admire presents only one difficult song, but it is (arguably) the most important. Closer, “The Lighthouse,” is a battle of styles and preference. Interpol’s bread and butter is in mid-tempo, gloom-rock. Each balances the other out. But on “The Lighthouse,” everything is draped in sorrow. The jangling, ethereal riff blends as Banks moans in the distance. And truth be told, I hated it. I skipped over it countless times; until the genius of it all hit me. Hard.
Much later, as I was reading a particularly sad short story, "The Lighthouse" came on. Both pieces of art seemed to echo and reinforce the other until I was nearly overcome. I put the book down and pictured its characters, pictured Interpol. I was content. I needed a hug. I hit repeat. Interpol craft much more than songs. They create a chance for quizzical reflection. Each song has a hidden message, and it’s the listeners’ job (err, pleasure) to find it. I don’t dare reveal each meaning, partly because yours will be completely different than mine (and Mr. Banks’). But if the angular riffs and snappy drums don’t keep you coming back, the curiosity will.
Our Love To Admire wows and subdues, excites and calms. One thing it never does, however, is let down. The struggles overcome by a band on everyone’s list (good or bad) hasn’t silenced anyone. If anything, people will be talking about Our Love To Admire for a very long time.
Recommended If You Like: Editors, Joy Division, peanut vendors, The Walkmen, Macy's and/or Thanksgiving Parades