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WPGM Recommends: Interpol – El Pintor (Album)

New York Post Punk revivalists Interpol have announced that the group’s fifth studio album El Pintor will be available for digital download and hard copy from the 8th of September, 2014. The highly anticipated new record marks the beginning of a new era. An album that revisits the tenacity and vigour of their former selves, a record which indefinitely has a point to prove following on from a rather tumultuous four years.

Four years ago, the band was left in disarray; their latest release had received a myriad of lukewarm reviews and bassist Carlos Dengler decided to severe his ties with the group, amid an increasingly tempestuous relationship with co-members. The future looked bleak for the New Yorkers and a relentless tour schedule to promote the album only highlighted the discrepancy between their earlier and new material, shining light over fans concerns that they would not able to re-create earlier successes.

“All The Rage Back Home”:

Nevertheless, this does not seem to be the case with the ambiguously titled El Pintor (anagram for word Interpol), which translates to ‘The Painter’ in English. El Pintor seems to have witnessed the return of their resonant, tremulous sounds of yesteryear seeing the band revitalized, frontman Paul Banks proclaims, “it feels like we’ve come full circle in a way”. Guitarist Daniel Kessler states that there is a “new, natural energy” within the group, adding that, “we’re never lacking ideas or inspiration… There’s always something new to be said, and if you don’t have something new to say, that’s when you should take a break. We got back together because we felt that some of these songs have certain urgency. It feels new again“, when interviewed by NME.

The opening track on the album “All The Rage Back Home” is a jubilant jaunt that echoes their earlier material and has already established itself as a firm favourite during live performances. It’s simple, upbeat in tempo and with a building intensity interspersed with catchy guitar hooks, it inevitably sets the tone for the rest of the album. Next is the track “My Desire“, which begins with a solo guitar playing a delayed motif, while the keyboards and bass guitar create a droning soundscape, with copious amounts of guitar licks being scattered throughout. “Anywhere” seems to be another crowd favourite with its propulsive beat and driving guitars, following in the same vain as “All The Rage Back Home”.


The next tracks “Same Town New Story” and “My Blue Supreme” show a more mellow and lugubrious approach with an element of zeal. Whereas “Everything Is Wrong” and “Breaker 1“, may not be as dense as “All the Rage Back Home” or “My Desire” nor are they as mellow as the latter two tracks on the album. Yet they have a steady tempo and maintain the impetus of the record. “Ancient Ways” is three minutes of a nascent post punk rock and is certainly the most striking in terms of its lyric; the first line of the vocals contain expletives really setting the tone for the remainder of the piece. The penultimate song “Tidal Wave” juxtaposes the latter track with its genial approach that is similar to “Same Town New Story”. The album eventually ends with the song “Twice As Hard“. I cannot say that this track brings the record to a thrilling climax nor is it a grand finale, but nonetheless it sustains the promise found in the rest of the album.

Despite the introduction of new sleek tailored suits and the rejuvenation of a polished sound that has still maintained its roots and influences (Echo and the Bunnymen, Morrisey, Joy Division), the group has often been categorically labelled as a group that does not seem to evolve. Nevertheless this is not necessarily an undesirable aspect as it means that their distinctive vibes are still intact. It gives them an indisputable sound, something that many artists nowadays seem to struggle with due to the pressures of the commercial market. In summary, the album is the musical result of the band’s dealing with the burdens of its disappointing recent history, and the release of tension that had built up as a consequence. It is the record that will restore your faith in the band and giving you something to look forward to. Watch the intimate trailer for El Pintor here, and purchase the album below.

Purchase: Interpol – El Pintor (Album) // iTunes

Words by Alex Clarke // Edited by Ayo Adepoju

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