This is a very different band without Carlos -- leaner, and stronger. By keeping the keyboards to a minimum, the band is better for it, because their noisier, jagged, angular, clipped, and choppy guitar playing is what makes these songs shine. This sound is their own, too, and not derivative of various late 70s/80s Brit punk bands. I much prefer it to Turn On the Bright Lights for this reason. It’s better to hear them making their own music, rather than trying to emulate someone else.
Paul Banks’ long-suffering lover-boy lyrics will always be this band’s slight weakness, but with music that is, in its own way, very grand and dramatic, the lyrics are the right fit this time. Indeed, these are his best lyrics yet. And they fit particularly well on the album’s single “Barricade,” a lament on the distance he and his partner have in their relationship. They are extremely sad, but not bleak. He knows he can work it out.
This self-titled album is their best since Antics, and very much worth the wait. It is nice to have them back better than ever, after the letdown that was Our Love to Admire. [www.interpolnyc.com]