After Four Years, Interpol is back in STL
story & photos: Cory Weaver
It may not be fair to the band and it may seem trite, but Interpol has come into their own, again—this time with new album Marauder. Is it because they’ve found solid footing on the second album they’ve released without former bassist Carlos Dengler? Is it an awakening? It may just be that after five studio albums, their sixth is a new experience and like nothing they’ve given us before.
After filling albums with detached thoughts and observations, allowing the listener to elaborate on song meanings, there now seems to be a soul-lighting craftsmanship to Paul Banks’ songwriting—something he previously reserved for his solo work. And while many fans have related to Interpol’s songs, which touch on emotional scarring, break-ups, perceptive complexities to the everyday grind of life and self-sabotaged relationships, now they have an opportunity to relate to the singer/songwriter.
“This record is where I feel touching on real things that have happened to me are exciting and evocative to write about,” he explains. “I think in the past, I always felt autobiography was too small a thing for me to reference. I feel like now, I’m able to romanticize parts of my own life.”
While the band’s debut album Turn on the Bright Lights received widespread critical acclaim, many reviewers fell off the Interpol train after sophomore effort Antics was released. It’s as if they were demanding that Interpol become Radiohead and were upset when the profundity they were looking for wasn’t there for them (someone actually wrote that). I’m not one to say that you can’t find some kind of wisdom in a song/album, but when you treat albums like you’re looking for the meaning of life, then it may be time for a career change.
Those vultures keep waiting, perched on their lonely branches while others are raving and excited over the trio’s 2018 release, Marauder. To borrow a song title from the band’s fifth, anagrammatic album El Pintor, “Everything Is Wrong,” with Marauder, everything has changed. Not only has Banks admitted that a lot of Marauder’s songs have personal connections, his bass playing has gone from admirably serviceable to outright poetic and, at times, dominating when it needs to be. To say it’s solid would be an understatement. Consider the bass in “Flight of Fancy,” “Stay in Touch” and “Mountain Child”—it’s incredibly powerful without being bombastic or cute.
Then, on “NYSMAW” (Now You See Me at Work), Fogarino’s triplet snare and Kessler’s woodsy ostinato lay the foundation as Banks’ bass takes hold of the song and drives the ferocity of the track.
"On El Pintor, we were riding on the novelty aspect of Paul playing bass, and enjoying what a good job he was doing,” says drummer Sam Fogarino, referring to the 2014 album and the first the band recorded without Dengler. “But this time, it was a case of ‘you’re the bass player.’ I think now he felt comfortable to explore. He’s not just jumping into save the day, he’s applying himself and his voice as a bassist.”
You can tell from the interviews and the packed shows supporting Marauder that the vibe is different than in the past. Perhaps it was the band’s Turn on the Bright Lights 15th anniversary shows in 2017 that reenergized them? Or is it that they left the Interpol we grew up with and are blazing a new trail?
Well, one thing is for certain, the trail Interpol is blazing finds its way to The Pageant February 9th—the group’s first trip to St. Louis in nearly four years. This will certainly be a night to remember and perhaps one of the biggest concerts of the year to hit St. Louis.
[Note: Quotes excerpted from official artist bio.]