Interpol didn’t quite become the band that their debut record Turn on the Bright Lights – a brilliantly scuzzy slice of post-punk with a sense of brood that evoked Joy Division – promised. Since 2001, they’ve lost members and flirted and subsequently broken up with major labels, but with Marauder, their third LP back with Matador after two well-received self-titled records, the band have gained a taste of consistency. Additionally, after a busy summer, which saw them support the likes of The Cure and Arctic Monkeys, as well as playing huge shows of their own, Interpol are in a good place and their music reflects that.
This is the first time the band have worked with a producer since Our Love to Admire. Teaming up with Dave Fridmann (MGMT, Mogwai, Flaming Lips), it’s an anthemic and ruminating record with all the quirks and trademarks we know and love from the post-punk icons. Furthermore, there’s a broader, more stadium-ready sound to Marauder falling somewhere between Queens of the Stone Age, War-era U2 and, dare I say it, early Coldplay. The post-punk heroes have, strangely, hit the conventional.
Unquestionably, this is far more evident in the early stages of the record. Album opener ‘If You Really Love Nothing’, with its driving drum beats and euphoric guitar lines, make for an exciting, impassioned opening to the record that has inflections of both glam-rock and early Britpop. However, gone are the more artistic leanings – which is a certain shame – for a far more mainstream American rock impression.
Likewise, lead single ‘The Rover’ is a propulsive foot-stomper, with classically artistic-meets-nonsense lyrics we’ve come to know and love from the band. “I can keep you in artwork, the fluid kind”, frontman Paul Banks sings with his tongue firmly in his cheek. Nevertheless, in the early stages of Marauder it’s far too formulaic and run of the mill.
Luckily the balance shifts and the band return to their playful ways. This proceeds with one of the finest songs on the record,‘Stay in Touch’, where a more brooding, vintage Interpol sound comes to fruition. Kicking off with a beautiful bluesy riff it’s a spiralling number that descends further and further into darkness before its epic conclusion.
After the first interlude of the record, ‘Interlude 1’ – which offers up a razor-sharp, playful, post-punky guitar riff, the album rushes back into gear with ‘Mountain Child’, by far the most atmospheric cut on the album. Steeped in euphoria, it’s no doubt the catchiest song on the record and evocative of the avant garde pop that the likes of Arcade Fire have twisted to transform themselves from indie heroes to Glastonbury headliners.
There’s no doubt here that Interpol have offered up their most accessible and mainstream record to-date, which will no doubt see them taking on arenas in the very near future. Nonetheless, the more interesting aspects of Marauder are when the band are at their most exotic: taking on big riffs and glammed up, brooding vocals and turning it to 11. There’s unfortunately not enough of this experimentation, but Marauder is another step in Interpol’s consistency parade.