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So What if they Sound like Joy Division?
Our Love to Admire
released: July 10, 2007
On Our Love to Admire, their major label debut on Capitol, Interpol still sound like Joy Division and they are not apologizing for it regardless of how often they are knocked for it. And really, they shouldn’t. The band has long transcended the comparisons and established its own identifiable sound, full of machine-like guitars, ominous piano lines and ennui-infused vocals. Interpol is as distinctive a band there is working today.
For better or worse, Our Love to Admire --which debuted last week at #4 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart-- rises and falls on how closely it hews to this sound. The band confidently runs through the eleven songs on the album, churning out memorable, albeit familiar-sounding tunes.
Lead single “The Heinrich Maneuver” makes it seem like it hasn’t been three years since Antics, bridging the gap between albums by reminding fans of what they love about Interpol and luring casual listeners with its dance-ready drive and pummeling beat. The regurgitation of the same sound would be enough to dismiss Our Love to Admire as a lazy album if it wasn’t for one thing: the songs are just too damned good.
The album opens with the creepy "Pioneer to the Falls," which quickly establishes that what is to follow is the Interpol we've gotten to know. The mood lightens somewhat with the next song--and an album highlight--"No 'I' in Threesome." The cheeky title shows that it's not all doom and gloom in the world of Interpol, and apart from the title, the song's crashing piano and drums hint at a deeper complexity in the songwriting. Interpol are smart enough to know that there was not much wrong with what it has cooked up before, but they're also not so complacent as to not alter the mix. Our Love to Admire perfects a recipe that Interpol began to get right during Antics. The songs may sound familiar but upon closer listening the subtle innovations can be heard, from the use of strings to choral effects to even some chanting en espanol (at the end of "Wrecking Ball").
What is lacking from Our Love to Admire is the fat of their previous albums. This album is a lean, sculpted collection that really has no bad song, from "Pioneer to the Falls" to "Rest My Chemistry," every track is ship-shape and practically single-ready. Gone are the half-finished tunes and the indulgent vices of the band's art-rock pretensions. The closing song, "The Lighthouse" may qualify as the latter, but its droning has a haunting quality that gives the album a nice bitter finish. Apart from that, it seems the band has embraced its keen pop sensibility for distinctive hooks and riffs without abandoning what it stands for. The question is whether the Interpol sound will stand up to a fourth album. Judging by Our Love to Admire, I'm ready for more of the same.
Interpol - "The Heinrich Maneuver"