Album Review

El Pintor

El Pintor

by Interpol

7 / 10
1st September 2014

Reviewed by Paul Larsen

On hiatus, down a bassist, and coming off the decidedly mixed reaction to 2010's self-titled record, New York indie rockers, Interpol haven't had the most prolific of decades so far. The release of fifth record, El Pintor (seemingly chosen as an anagram for the band's name over any other reason) sees the band look to rectify that. With the departure of Carlos Dengler, frontman Paul Banks assumed bass duties for the recording of the album while touring keyboardist, Brandon Curtis (The Secret Machines) also appears on the majority of the record's ten tracks.

Off the bat, El Pintor will feel familiar to the band's long standing fans. Opening track and lead single, 'All the Rage Back Home' is a triumphant jaunt with lasting echoes of the bands earlier work throughout - Daniel Kessler's lightly textured guitar working harmoniously with Bank's vocals as the track builds to an exultant finish. From this strong start, the record progresses with both purpose and direction. Unhurried but never lazy, the three core players sound fresh and bright - complimenting Bank's often desperate lyrics on tracks like the brooding 'Same Town, New Story', but able to kick the volume up a notch or two as required for the vigorous energy of 'Anywhere' and 'Ancient Ways'.

Begging to be played through a stadium sized P.A. to the swaying masses, final track 'Twice as Hard' is a fitting exclamation mark to the record and a reminder of what this band are capable of at their best. Is this the second coming of Interpol? There probably isn't enough new here to adorn many new fans to the band, and it doesn't quite reach the twin summits of Antics or Turn on the Bright Lights, but El Pintor remains an archetypal record from one of indie music's best.

El Pintor is out 5th September in New Zealand, but you can take a First Listen over here.

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