There is a palpable sense of urgency to this sixth Interpol record and you wonder how much of it has to do with the peculiar few years they’ve had since their last full-length, 2014’s ‘El Pintor’. That album was their first as a three-piece and met with genuinely mixed reviews; some saw their return to the tried-and-true indie rock of ‘Antics’ and ‘Our Love to Admire’ as both welcome and wise after their the spacey experimentalism of their self-titled LP in 2010, whilst others felt ‘El Pintor’ was at best too safe and at worst, the sound of a band running out of ideas fast.
Equally conservative was the decision, last year, to mark the 15th anniversary of their seminal debut ‘Turn On the Bright Lights’ with a front-to-back tour – never a progressive move, and a touch peculiar given that they’d largely ignored the more obvious 10-year milestone. Around the same time, Lizzy Goodman’s Meet Me in the Bathroom chronicled their early days and, in the main, reinforced the image they’d worked so hard to cultivate; slick sophisticates who were capable of maintaining a laser-guided singularity of musical vision even whilst giving New York’s hardest partiers a run for their money – hedonism without a hair out of place.
It’s hard not to imagine that between them, the tour and the book raised the stinging possibility to the band that they were on the verge of becoming yesterday’s men. ‘Marauder’ certainly feels like a rebuke to the idea. It’s an album scored through with a fierce sense of purpose, and it has the trio less entertaining new sonic avenues than actively chasing them down. Frontman Paul Banks is the band’s studio bassist now and he’s settling nicely into the task of wrapping his vocals around the instrument; bouncy opener ‘If You Really Love Nothing’ is a case in point, as is the infectious ‘Surveillance’.
Producer Dave Fridmann is the world’s premier recorder of drums and Sam Fogarino has not passed up what for him will have represented a golden opportunity; he’s the record’s driving force, both in terms of the electricity of his playing and his willingness to try new things – see his freeform performance on ‘Party’s Over’, as well as the hip hop influence hanging over both ‘Stay in Touch’ and ‘It Probably Matters’. ‘Marauder’ twists and turns and not all of the myriad ideas it throws at the proverbial wall end up sticking, but when they do, they suggest there’s plenty left in the tank. In that respect, mission accomplished.
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This month’s disc is from Detroit punk band Protomartyr