Album Reviews

Interpol – El Pintor (REVIEW) 2014

Interpol in Oakland, CA. Photo by Clay Lancaster. www.claylancaster.com

Interpol in Oakland, CA. Photo by Clay Lancaster. http://www.claylancaster.com

Not-so-hot-on-the-heels of their last offering (2010’s self-titled LP), the lads in New York-based Interpol have returned with El Pintor.  The new album marks the end of a four-year wait for fans, and also marks a lineup change. Long time bassist Carlos D left the group back in 2010, but not before finishing Interpol… making El Pintor the first release without him. Singer Paul Banks assumed the bass duties this time around.

However, minus an important member, El Pintor may just be one of Interpol’s strongest efforts to date… if not the strongest.

A few weeks ago, we were given the lead single “All the Rage Back Home” in all of it’s gloriousness – perhaps the best single they have put forward. The rest of the record certainly does not disappoint, and offers a slightly more focused sound while still being unmistakably Interpol.

“My Desire” has a driving, head-bobbing, relentless groove as it builds and blossoms… the feel and beat somewhat reminiscent of U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday”. “Anywhere” is a true to form track. “My Blue Supreme” turns oddly uplifting and comforting as it nears completion, “Breaker 1” is intense and pounding, “Ancient Ways” rockin’ to the point of potentially earning itself a spot as the band’s next single, and “Tidal Wave” is up there with any of the best tracks I’ve heard from these guys.

Overall, Interpol sounds refreshed and more focused this time around. Banks’ vocals have matured into, dare I say, more of an actual singer (instead of droning his way through the tunes, which was never a problem before). Sam Fogarino’s conveys much more purpose and intent with his drum patterns than in the past, and Daniel Kessler’s guitar just soars.

Bottom Line: El Pintor is beautifully crafted. It layers and builds in only the way Interpol could pull off, and offers a fresh new energy. It’s one of those strange records that seems to get better as you get closer to the end, making you groan when it’s over before you it play again. It certainly is all the rage.

Rating: 9/10

Tracks worth checking out: “All the Rage Back Home”, “Breaker 1”, “Ancient Ways”, “Tidal Wave”

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