red lights


Interpol brightens the lights
on second effort


Interpol - Antics
(Matador Records)
4 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Dec. 27, 2004

Review by Tony Bonyata

Following the success of their hit debut album Turn Out the Bright Lights, which garnered critical accolades throughout both indie and mainstream circles, the NYC foursome Interpol are now receiving the microscopic scrutiny on their sophomore album Antics.
While still following in a similar vein as their previous effort - with angular art-house guitars, jittery rhythms, seductive bass-lines and cold, detached vocals - Antics manages to hold up extremely well under the stark light of the cross examination table. In fact, the band lightens their gloomy approach slightly with an infectious sound that, while still bleak and foreign at times, is hauntingly beautiful and ultimately brighter and more optimistic than its predecessor.
Things start off decidedly different as an angelic organ lightly floats around singer Paul Banks' infectious deadpan drone on the opening number "Next Exit," before lunging into Carlos D.'s rubbery bass-line and Sam Fogarino's whip-crack beat on the energetic number "Evil."
Despite the comparisons drawn on their debut between Banks' monotone delivery and Joy Division's late singer Ian Curtis, Interpol's vocalist manages to sidestep further parallel lines by adding more emotion to this offering, as witnessed on the songs "Narc," where he colorfully intones, "You should be in my space, you should be in my life," before stalking into the number "Public Pervert," which, with an arrangement that leaps from secluded sparseness to full-frontal guitars taunted by a pounding rhythm, turns out to be the most challenging, and ultimately rewarding, departure for this band.
While Banks distinctive voice, not to mention Carlos D.'s nihilistic look, may grab the lion's share of attention from this band, it's actually Daniel Kessler's unique and jarring approach to the guitars that adds most of the color and character to this unique rock act. With an uncharacteristic sense of passion Banks spills out the lyrics, "She found a lonely sound," and it's the lonely and lovely sounds found throughout this strong follow-up that proves that Interpol is one of the small handful of rock groups to actually make a difference over the last couple of years.

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