Interpol ~ Our Love To Admire

Label: Parlophone


You thought you had Interpol pegged, didn’t you. Yeah, us too. They probably weren’t far off the mark either, the way they’d nailed themselves up on the post-punk crucifix (still well-dressed, mind – always well dressed), wherein they thrashed through the motions of toil and regret for all to see. They sat behind the blacked-out windows of a cruising juggernaut of emotional turmoil and introverted tension, every bold manoeuvre or sudden swerve so very clear to see, especially when we’re talking their solid but ultimately unexceptional sophomore, ‘Antics’. It was a record that made us suspect we might have Interpol on auto from thereon in – not an entirely objectionable prospect, but not the same taut group that brought us the dark, reactionary lucidity of ‘Turn On the Bright Lights’. Looser, at least. It is, you suspect, all too easy to fall into cliché’s arms when you’re Interpol. So break out the blue bunting and Prozac cocktails, because with ‘Our Love To Admire’, not only have they stayed upright, they’ve risen starkly above expectation and previous form and made a really quite remarkable record.

“Major label debut”, the term, is bandied around as an insult, an accusation more often than it’s used as a mere detail. It, like the band, carries a lot of baggage; Interpol do not travel light. But this whole album, though carrying the weight of the world on its shoulders, as required, is light-footed and, relatively speaking, graceful. It doesn’t feel bound by the cold hand of hopelessness any longer. It has the keys to the night sky (daylight still obscured from their palette, natch) and links the dots in obtuse constellations – they’re close to joining Spiritualized in space for expansive floating epic ‘Wrecking Ball’, perhaps having climbed through the “hole in the sky” he sings of in harder, gravity-held ‘Mammoth’. They’ve been truly liberated by the opportunity, yet remain impressively uncompromised.

The instrumentation has swelled; atmospheric effects aplenty, piano, psychedelic organ, sad ethereal horn sections and on creeping cascade ‘Pioneer To The Falls’ we’re fairly sure one of those lo-fi toy blow keyboards. Interpol, with a toy keyboard – brought into line, of course. With ‘Our Love To Admire’ they’re sliding from Joy Division paranoia towards The Smiths’ pathos, and in the way each of the instruments work increasingly independently of one another, but still work to the same end, their method reminds us of classic, captivating Stone Roses. New threads are still hung off the same skin and bones, so first single and link from old-Interpol, ‘The Heinrich Maneuver’, leads you in with padding and more pounds to the punch. It makes more sense in the wider context of the album, alone it had not felt so brave.

Frontman and vocalist Paul Banks, who before had felt necessary but functional, uniform, takes subtle but especially significant strides, heading up their charge towards flexibility. He’s terse, brief, certain, but sketching these fascinating, literate outlines with that and he’s never repetitive. Which must be all too easy to become, when you’re Interpol. But this, all of this, is a heartfelt victory, a convincing, instinctive classic. To put a sticker on something and say that is easy, but that in itself isn’t. Genuinely special.

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Released: July 10 2007