Interpol’s 2002 debut, Turn On The Bright Lights, was one of the year’s best albums. The moody, propulsive guitars and cryptic lyrics of the down-and-out four-piece propelled them into the limelight and critical acclaim. The question is, does their new album, Antics, rest on its laurels?
Antics begins with the sweet sounds of a Sunday organ on “Next Exit,” a plodding, slow-dance hymn about returning to a home that’s become strange place. The entire album seems to be treading awkwardly over old ground, specifically in the land of star-crossed romances. Lyrics like “Feast your eyes I’m the only one / control me console me / cause that’s just how it should be done” (“Narc”) and “The anatomy of kisses and a teacher who tries / who knows I will disappear” (“Take You On A Cruise”) make this a perfect album to play while sorting through yellowed love letters.
The bluntly love-addled lyrics may border on tacky, but Paul Banks’ vocals give them a nervy and self-conscious quality. Sprinkled throughout the album are new wave strings and bittersweet choral harmonizing.
While the album maintains Interpol’s signature taut sound—the drumplay of Sam Fogarino providing a bouncy punch, with Dan Kessler’s guitar skipping around Carlos Dengler’s meaty and relentless bass lines—the overall feel is more subdued than on Bright Lights. Antics lends itself more to quiet introspection. Interpol, while not exactly boldly going where no band has gone before (“A Time To Be So Small” is off of an early EP), certainly can’t be accused of making a cookie-cutter album.
Slick as they sound, Interpol has actually moved away from the frantic, high-speed gloss of their debut, going as far as to toy with feedback on several tracks, notably the delicious finale to “Public Pervert.” The only sore spot is the cheese of “Not Even Jail.”
Flying in the face of a sophomore bomb, these pretentious New York kids have clearly established that they know how to rock. Will this satisfy their swelling fan-base? All the cool kids think so, but the only reason Interpol has reached so many ears in the first place is because everyone and their scenester brother has picked up on the fact that NYC bands are a hot ticket.
It can be tough to sort through all the ultimately forgettable acts out there. But it’s safe to say that Interpol is doing justice to NYC. And who really cares about New York when you’re experiencing great music?
7 thoughts on “Interpol – Antics”
I got a copy of this record from an undisclosed source in late July and I must say I was not immediately taken with it. It seemed to lack the intensity and dark edge of the first record and the songs seem generally un-inspired. While I have warmed up to the record, there aer only 3 or 4 songs that I really say I like, an they ae to me the ones that sound the most like the first record. I’m not going to go as far as to say they peaked on their debut, but this record did not meet my hopes for their progression.
The new record has really grown on me. A lot. I don’t think it’s best moments equal those on ‘Turn on…’ but ‘Antics’ is consistently good all the way through. Personally, I find there to be more listenable songs on it than their debut. There were some *incredible* songs on ‘Turn on…,’ but there was also a ton of filler that I can’t listen to anymore.
I don’t see myself coming back to this the way I do TOTBL. The album is a very solid follow-up, but there is nothing here as stunning as “Leif Erickson,” “Stella,” or “Obstacle 1.”
I like Antics, it slowly grew on me, I mean granted its not better than TOTBL, nothing is ever as great as the first time.
But I love the double meaning of the title, Antics (a ludicrous act or something to that fact), I mean isn’t possible that Interpol is poking fun at the situation they find themselves, and at the same time describing the religion or expectation of love and marriage.
Their performance at the Riviera in Chicago was amazing. It might have been one of the greatest shows that I have ever seen. I just wished they would have played “Stella”. I long for Stella. Maybe I can catch them in Germany this December and this time they will play a song for “Stella”.
Carlos is the baddest man alive.
I think Antics is just as good, if not better than Turn On The Bright Lights. Every single song on the new CD sounds awesome and original, no matter what certain reviews might claim. Some people were probably expecting for the guys to come out with an album that sounds exactly the same, which is difficult to understand. I don’t see why anyone should think they have a right to be disappointed; you either like it or you don’t.
I bought this album about three days ago, and I must say it’s grown on me. My initial reaction was that a lot of the songs sounded similar, a crticism I noticed made by a few others. But after a while, the songs take on identities all of their own. Favourite tracks, without question, are Evil, Narc, Slow Hands and C’Mere. But it’s all great. Investigate!