Interpol: Turn On The Bright Lights

Before I get into the review, I have to say that this is my favourite album of all time, but I won’t let that dictate my review. Released in 2002, the album didn’t exactly blow up. It was more successful in the UK than the United States, though it did well on the Independent Charts. I guess it sought a certain ear.

It was dark, Daniel Kessler found sounds that would keep you up all night wondering if you make enough charitable donations. Paul Banks is just incredible on the album, the best he has sounded in any album. Sometimes the fact that he was hard to understand made it better. You could almost figure out what he was saying by the sound of his voice. Carlos Dengler was also one of the best bassists around at the time, I’d say up there with Flea. He dragged the album down and before you knew if you were trying to coax your ears out of listening for anything else but bass. I’m a sucker for drums, and I often find myself listening to Interpol over and over because of Sam Fogarino. “PDA”, say no more. BANGING.

This is the album that started it all for me. I had always hated pop and radio thrash, where each song contains the same themes , nightclubs, touching the ceiling, drinking until the morning. I enjoyed The Killers Hot Fuss, but this was an album I fell in love with. Honestly, I don’t think a day has passed that I haven’t listening to Interpol, and this album in particular. Whatever mood your in, whether you’re in the gym or heading out for a coffee, there’s a song to get you going, or appreciate your surroundings. Through the influence of “TOTBL”, I found bands such as The Pixies and Sonic Youth, and the influence still stands today as I find myself looking for similar sounds such as Warpaint and Savages.

For the most part, “TOTBL” is a post punk, grunge album, made for the New York scene at the time joining The Strokes and Yeah Yeah Yeahs definitive sounds. They were set apart from these bands because of the content. Yeah sure The Strokes “Is This It” is unbelievable but after a few listens it turns into one long song. I won’t take a dig at “Fever To Tell” because I simply can’t. From the second the album begins you can sense that Interpol had something to say. A kind of, here’s the truth, but don’t let it worry you. As piercingly clear as the guitar on Television’s “Marquee Moon” (drool),”Untitled” immediately makes you interested. They work up to “NYC” which is just beautiful because of what New York was going through then, and for me it feels like a love song.

My favourite song of my teens was “Say Hello To The Angles” because it got me going, and when the guitar is being beaten around it turns into a rock song for a little while. Since I’m on the rock subject, “Roland” and “The New” sort of fall into this category too. “Roland” is fast paced and it is also the most memorable song off the album because of the airplay it got, and it also made an appearance in Friends and House of Wax. It builds and builds and then runs off in a panic “Leif Erikson” is my all time favourite song because I’m a sucker for an excellent album closer, and also because the guitar on the track is the best on the album. The break from guitar to drums, to guitar gives you a chance to head bop before giving over your ears completely to the last 45 seconds.

So much of this album feels like you should be sitting on a train, probably in New York, looking out the window avoiding the person beside you because they just got evicted.

My favourite album ever, so ya, buy it.

G.M

 

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