KCRW show at Mack Sennett Studios
August 26, 2014
Playing several songs from their first release in four years, El Pintor, New York aught-rock band Interpol followed up a strong set at FYF Fest with an intimate show for KCRW last night at Mack Sennett Studios.
The new recorded work shows that these black-garbed rockers haven't lost their ability to create lush textures. But the record doesn't have much in the way of hooks or captivating choruses, making us wonder if singer Paul Banks' time off, taken so he could work on other projects — as well as the loss of founding member Carlos D — has slowed them down.
Many called their set at FYF a highlight; then and last night, they played as many old numbers as new. Despite its sound, El Pintor (out on Matador, Sept. 9) has no Spanish music references. It’s a scramble of the letters that spell the band’s name. If the name is meant to suggest that the guys are mixing it up after their hiatus, that’s true on some level, instrumentally at least.
The guitars spiral faster and the rhythms meander into dark new, captivating places. Too bad it’s almost all atmosphere and almost no anthems.
Two exceptions are the catchy-enough title track and the obvious single, “All The Rage Back Home,” a post-punky musing that starts off wistful and down-tempo and builds up steam with a bouncy, lyric-driven chorus and fun “hey, hey, hey” back-up vox. If there were a few more numbers like this one, the band could have possibly surpassed their Antics-era successes.
After all, not many are still doing first-rate dark, Joy Division-y rock right now.
Still, touring really only requires a couple compelling tracks and a potent live show, and so in that sense Interpol has more than enough going for them to recapture their place in the gloom-rock hierarchy.
Last night’s small show proved again that the current line-up (even sans Carlos D’s audacious style and new wave haircut) is formidable onstage. They're a great live band. Banks' vocals are like-the-record flawless and his bandmates provide the perfect compliment, cool but intense and steady.
Even if you don't buy the record — and we're not sure we recommend it — they're a must-see live.
Say Hello to the Angels
Length of Love
Not Even Jail
Same Town, New Story
Take You On a Cruise
All the Rage Back Home
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