Interpol, Our Love to Admire

New York band Interpol’s latest release Our Love to Admire is the band’s latest attempt at crafting their black-and-white, cigarette-fused, avant garde rock formula. After the success of the band’s two previous albums, Turn off the Bright Lights and Antics, where is there to go? Regardless of opinion, Interpol’s established sound seemed to have nowhere else to evolve to, (this author has his gripes with Antics) but Our Love to Admire does just that. It takes the monochromatic melodrama concept and interjects it with an unexpected color and a level of lyrical and sonic emotion that makes for a more-than-worthy major label debut. The album begins with the cavernous “Pioneer to the Falls,” a concertina-laced ballad in the same vein of the previous two albums openers, “Untitled” and “Next Exit.” The general premise and mood of Our Love to Admire is laid out within the first chord progression, one of an epic and dark loneliness waiting to take any who listen. The album continues with the notable song “No I and Threesome,” a tongue-in-cheek story of a couple looking for excitement where their relationships holds for them none. The song is really a one-sided conversation from singer Paul Banks, and the feeling of his voice pleading to a bored lover comes through as convincing. The song “Pace is the Trick” marks a changing in tone in the album, going from more upbeat to an album that is much darker and more solemn in attitude with the lyrics, “You can’t hold it too tight/These matters of security/You don’t have to be wound so tight/Smoking on the balcony.” This attitude continues on as the lyrics turn to a theme of reflection and peace. This is especially true on the tune “Rest My Chemistry,” a strange and jerky, almost Sam & Dave tribute song which acts as the climax of the album. The melody shows the most expansion on part of the band as they develop their sound into new areas of the concept of groove. The final song on the album, “The Lighthouse,” is the nautical opposite of the opening track. With the lyrics, “It’s the place that’s said to break/It’s just as safe from the outside tonight,” the album draws to an uneasy close. “The Lighthouse” is a song that draws the listener in with its build-up, but never delivers the tidal wave it promises. Whether or not this device is intentional, or more importantly whether it works, is left to the listener. Our Love to Admire is a mysterious album. It leaves the listener looking deep into Paul Banks’ lyrics, trying to find a history behind the album’s haunting words. Musically, it is an album of a band with a very distinct sound trying to evolve it into something new. While some might argue the pace of evolution is slower than the listener might wish, it is always better to let things come instead of forcing them. And in that sense, Our Love to Admire is exactly where Interpol should be and exactly where they should now be evolving from.