By Samuel Cravey
Release Date: August 24, 2018
Interpol, New York’s post-punk revival rock band, make their presence known with their first album since 2014, Marauder. Fans familiar with Interpol’s previous albums should delight in the trio’s newest work. Paul Banks (vocals and bass), Daniel Kessler (lead guitar and backing vocals) and Sam Fogarino (percussion) have stuck with their consistent approach to making rock music with just enough new tricks to keep things interesting without straying too far from the original post-punk recipe. This makes sense for a band that has had essentially the same line up since 2000. Personally, I have a lot of respect for bands that stick with what works. Marauder makes clear that Interpol is hard at work keeping themselves from becoming a relic of the 2000s.
Interpol’s latest album differs from previous albums in the sense that the tracks generally seem more laid back and natural. As the songs play from the first to the 13th, none sound forced or overproduced. The tracks fit tidily into the album’s theme of following a wanderer/occult leader aptly named “The Rover.” Marauder accompanies “The Rover’s” exploits and experiences until eventually being subdued by the authorities (subdued by Interpol that is, wink wink) around the album’s third to last track, “Party’s Over.” While the story the songs tell is from the perspective of this nameless wanderer, it’s clear that the often wispy lyrics are addressing the past mistakes of their younger selves. “It Probably Matters” is the most straightforward example of this: “I tried to be a faithful friend, couldn’t always keep you safe when we were ending, but I always had the time for the medicine.” In some cases, the lyrics offer eerie commentary about the world we live in. In the song “Surveillance,” nothing goes unnoticed, even if we don’t notice ourselves: “We are leaving something frame by frame, we are living something frame by frame, we are leading something frame by frame, making little adjustments frame by frame.”
Musically, the familiar tones and beats we’ve come to know as Interpol’s sound are all present. Marauder is an interesting assortment of tunes full of moody and broody melodies and notes that seduce and pound. If there is really anything to complain about in this album, it would be the drums. There is too much high-hat repetition and not enough variation in the types of drum beats overall. With that said, that is a nitpicky complaint that only comes to light after listening to the whole album a couple of times over. The guitars are augmented with wonderful distortion and reverb that will eternally satisfy, especially at the hands of rocksmiths like Interpol. Tasteful spaghetti western-esque guitar riffs are paired with drum beats that trot along contently to the beat like in “If You Really Love Nothing” and “The Rover.” Although Marauder probably will not become known as Interpol’s all-time best album, it easily could be their best work released this decade.