During the early 90's the grunge insurrection spawned a revolt of the alternative proletariat against the mainstream bourgeoisie. For the better part of the decade, a new musical order was emerging. The demographical chasm between pop, metal and hip-hop opened the floodgates for an influx of innovative and original sounds. Then it happened-the children of the Baby-Boomers hit puberty. Commercialism struck back with a vengeance. Britney Spears and her army of boy bands invaded and nothing has been quite the same since. As independent stations have increasingly become the casualties of corporate radio, even formerly cool alternative stations have been transformed into nothing more than vendors of variegated shades of the same mindless pop-punk, trite emo and rap-rock everybands that they were conceived to defy. When the lines between musical genres become so badly blurred that people like Avril Lavigne are getting Grammy nominations for best “rock” album, a call for change is definitely in order.
Enter Interpol. The original quartet formed in 1998 and gained a reputation around NYC. After a drummer replacement in 2000 the band in its current configuration became a leading ingenue on the New York music scene. Now with their first full-length release Turn On the Bright Lights, Interpol has been catapulted from buzz band to a tour de force that is well positioned to lead us back to an alternative nation. For those who have been lusting for the next great alternative sound, Turn On the Bright Lights is an orgasm for your ears.
From the melodic sweetness of 'Untitled' to the sharp riffs of 'Roland', Interpol mesmerizes its audience with a blend of 80's inspired urban underground and intellectual rock that possesses an almost drug-like capacity to alter the listener's mood. However, what truly sets Interpol apart from the latest generation of “it” bands is the uniqueness and sophistication of their music. Interpol has managed to achieve what several bands have failed to do, which is to evoke several influences, without being overshadowed by any of them. Despite suggestions of everything from The Cure, Catherine Wheel and The Stone Roses, to David Bowie and Echo and the Bunnymen to the more contemporary Queens of the Stone Age and The Strokes, the musical menagerie presented in Turn On the Bright Lights is indisputably Interpol's own.
In addition to unadulterated musical genius, Interpol's distinctive sound can be attributed to the fact that they are a band that plays together rather than against each other. They don't have the singer-centric focus that often serves to obscure the impact of the instruments. Singer/guitarist Paul Banks' subdued vocals and abstract lyrics are complimented by frequent interludes of passive-aggressive guitar riffs that combine his own musical talents with the innovation of guitarist Daniel Kessler. Equally important are the highly diverse musings of bassist Carlos D. Interpol's versatile sound is rounded out by drummer Sam Fogarino, whose percussionals can go from prominent to peripheral as required by each song.
The diversity and range of Turn On the Bright Lights makes it the perfect soundtrack for any activity, from going out, to making out. The more upbeat 'PDA' and 'Say Hello to the Angles' are countered by the ballad-esque 'NYC' and 'The New'. Track 8, Stella Was a Diver and She Was Always Down' is a work of brilliance in its own right.
Throughout the album the languid music speaks with as much purpose and articulation as the elusive lyrics, giving Interpol's music a sense of intellect and depth that few bands ever succeed in attaining. Though the tone may be dark, Turn On the Bright Lights is definitely a bright light in an otherwise dreary musical genre.
For more information on Interpol, visit their website at www.interpolny.com