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CD Reviews: Interpol
Interpol: Antics
September 2004
By: Blair Bryant
album cover of Interpol's Antics

Finally ending months of anticipation, Interpol's follow-up to the critically acclaimed Turn on the Bright Lights has finally dropped. The New York-based quartet has obviously put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into their sophomore effort Antics, along with some vintage rock dance beats. Although the end result may keep some guessing, Antics is nothing short of excellent.

One of the most popular bootlegs currently circulating before its September 28, 2004 release date, the general consensus by Interpol fans was mixed. Some feel it is sheer genius, while others feel it doesn't quite measure up to their previous EP. But many agree on the same thing- they're impressed by the sheer fact that Interpol did not create the same album twice. This may come as a surprise for those expecting the same Joy Division sound, which appeared on their first release on indie label Matador.

Antics opens with Next Exit, a pre-Antics-esque track penned by lead vocalist/guitarist Paul Banks. Featuring organ-induced keyboards in a musically dismal background, Banks' vocals and lyrics are as gloomy as they will get in the rest of the album. Meaningful lyrics like: So baby make it with me in preparation for tonight / We've got so much to leave but that's not what makes it right about facing problems in a relationship foreshadow the depth and improvement in songwriting by Banks. Things pick up in the artsy up-tempo Evil with impressive base lines by Interpol's in-house Goth Carlos D. Take You on a Cruise, which features guitar chords similar to that of a Franz Ferdinand song, is yet another track which displays the direction in which Interpol has taken with Antics- less gloom, more light-hearted. This transition, however, does not take away from Interpol's edge. Not only did they collectively create an album worthy enough to consider a work of art, they're coming full circle as a band. Banks has improved vocally and lyrically, while bassist Carlos D. and guitarist Daniel Kessler shine, as well as drummer Sam Fogarino, who makes the transition to steady-tempo beats very well. The first single from Antics, Slow Hands, showcases the band as a collective unit, as artists, as musicians, as lyricists, and as individuals. For those who feel Antics takes some getting used to, Public Pervert and C'mere neither disappoint nor stray too far from the previous album, yet are fresh enough to be distinguished from Turn on the Bright Lights. Aside from the light, quirky sounds of Antics as a whole, A Time to Be So Small is an endearing song of interaction between a father and son.

Although remaining on indie label Matador, Interpol's been catching on to mainstream audiences, leaving them less obscure. One of the most notable bands in the recent New York Rock Revival, these guys have truly come into their own on altogether. Antics serves up more up-beat songs than the dismal sound fans were used to. Despite the lack of misery and more feel-good music, a shroud of mystery still lingers over the band. Though a little less mysterious, the comparison of a skirt comes to mind- enough covered to be mysterious, yet enough uncovered to keep things interesting. And please, enough of the Joy Division comparisons. They've gone on to prove in their sophomore effort that they are who they are. They're not contrived. They're not Joy Division. They're not The Cure. And they're certainly not Morrissey either. They're Interpol.