Lyrics, vocals, drum beats, hooks, melodies, bass lines and more musical tricks are all components used to evoke emotion in the listener. Sometimes it’s based on a memory or past experience. Others, it based on the raw emotional reaction to our auditory sense. For this reviewer, stating the name Interpol pulls a smile from my soul, and takes me back to a giant concert lawn sitting on dewy, damp grass while blue, purple and red lights reflected off my face and danced against the warm Florida night sky as Interpol entranced an audience of thousands.

Thus, when my inbox dinged for a review of Interpol’s new self-titled album, I downloaded the file immediately in hopes of momentarily escaping my messy, clutter-filled desk and getting swept back up in that warm, awe-inspiring night.

From the start of their fourth album, they nailed it. Opener, “Success” is a glowing example of what Interpol does best. Paul Banks’ falsetto voice croons over pure guitars echoing with somber tension. They continue this semi-joyous sound on “Memory Serves,” harkening my memory to recall the immense feeling of camaraderie in the stadium. It was all happening. The sweeping sumptuousness of the prominent piano on these songs is encompassing. “Memory Serves” and “Lights” build a beautiful dramatic atmosphere, and they continue to keep me enraptured for the first five songs.

Yet, this is sadly where the bubble bursts, the dreamscape fades and I return to mounds of scattered sheets of scribble and to-do lists. For the first five songs there is this climatic strain, keeping you waiting for some massive release. Yet, with “Always Malaise (The Man I Am)” that simmering tension slops to mush. The excitement fades as the album continues with “Try It On” and “All Of the Ways.” These songs just amble in a mass of disturbing-sounding tracks. The album concludes with “The Undoing,” a bummer end to the 10 tracks.

The album also is the last for bassist, Carlos Dengler. Another bummer. While a thoughtful, somber sound is part of the appeal of Interpol, these final two bummers rained on my recollection desk parade. Perhaps I’ll take the half-full approach, and think the rain washed my recent memory clean, and five more stunners were magically added to the set list of the memorable eve.

Word: Lori Bartlett

Artist: Interpol
Album: Interpol
Label: Matador
Release Date: September 7, 2010

Interpol Tour Dates

10/18 Oakland, CA Fox Theater
10/19 Pomona, CA Fox Theater
10/21 San Diego, CA Soma
10/22 Las Vegas, NV The Joint
10/23 Los Angeles, CA The Greek
10/25 Denver, CO Ogden Theater
10/27 Dallas, TX The Showroom at Palladium
10/28 Austin, TX Stubb’s Waller Creek
10/29 Houston, TX Verizon Wireless Theatre
10/31 New Orleans, LA Voodoo Festival
11/01 Atlanta, GA The Tabernacle
11/03 Washington, DC DAR Constitution Hall
11/04 Philadelphia, PA Tower Theatre
11/05 New York, NY United Palace Theatre