By: Stuart Tidy
17 August, 2018, 12:30
Its been some time since Interpol have released any material and even longer since they wrote anything new. However, Marauder sees them return with quite the hoorah.
There is a confident swagger to this record from the outset. The opener ‘If You Really Love Nothing’ launches straight in at full speed with its tumbling drums and ascending guitar lines; all with that drenching of reverb that gives Interpol their moody and slightly haunting character. Unlike ‘Next Exit’; the opener from their second album which limped into view with it’s asthmatic organ noises, here they set themselves the challenge of starting big and impressive and keeping it that way. This they do rather well following up with ‘The Rover’ which instead goes for a more Johnny Marr scattergun string plucking style causing an almost itchy groove. Continuing with ‘Complications’ there is a post punk Gang of Four awkward disjointed guitar performance you’d commonly associate with Interpol but underlaid with a fuzzy rockabilly howling from the second guitar.
These three songs quite succinctly set you up for what’s to come. With Interpol, each track often feels like a bite-sized sound scape and Daniel Kessler’s songwriting technique often lends itself to a complete album rather than a bunch of instantly recognisable songs. As the music cycles through its plateauing segments, the record is accented with a collage of less characteristic infractions. The gnarly amp output on ‘Stay In Touch’ for instance invokes a pinch of The Cramps while reminding us of the surprisingly ferocious direction the vocals can take at times.
There are two minute long interludes (imaginatively called ‘Interlude 1’ and ‘2’) penultimately and half way through which take the form of drawn out rumbling synth chords. Although the idea is to presumably provide pauses for thought during an otherwise unrelenting forward motion; the songs preceding finish in such a way that they come as a surprise and ebb away shortly after feeling a touch anecdotal.
‘NYSMAW’ stands out in the second half for its guitar line which has a distinctly ambulance-like scream conjuring that murky suburban image in your mind that this band often feel like a sound track to. ‘Surveillance’ is one of those songs that sounds so like the band that’s playing it that it just washes over you and is perhaps the only one which could be described as boring. With a very standardised plod and repetition of the title, its dynamics shuffle along predictably as it ends making no impression.
The last batch of songs are relatively well put together but fail to grab quite so well as the earlier music. The closing ‘It Probably Matters’ has a noticeably brighter tone being more of a light ballad not too different from something James might has released.
Overall, Marauder is a satisfying listen, rarely lacking in quality and played with conviction and gravitas. You may, however, find it side-stepping into background music after track eight.
Marauder is out on 24th August via Matador Records.