The Record Lounge: Reviews 09/08/2010 – Interpol, Monahans

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Interpol – Interpol (Matador Records)

Oh, hi. You kinda crept up on me. It’s been a while, and I’ve missed you. In the eight years we’ve been together, I don’t know that I have been happier to see you. Shh shh shh, no need to explain. Sometimes things can get rocky and all that matters is that you’re back here now. Maybe what you did in ’07 wasn’t quite as bad as it seemed at the time; it’s forgiven, but not forgotten. And just because I’ve forgiven, does not necessarily mean I like what you did back then any more than I did when it happened. But time heals all wounds, and I see you’ve made some changes, changes for the better, and have become stronger for it. I’ve grown a bit too, so let’s try this again… okay? Okay. I’ll let you back in.

The self-titled fourth album from New York’s Interpol hit the shelves yesterday morning. I must say, even though I was excited to see this, it wasn’t without trepidation. For you see, I was not in any way a fan of their last record, 2007’s Our Love To Admire. Released the same week as Smashing Pumpkins Zeitgeist, it should have been a banner week. But for most of us that heard or even bought both, it was a troubling yet disappointing time. At least it was for me. Therefore, I was hesitant with Interpol. Would it bring the same pain and disappointment they had bestowed only a short time earlier? Would there be redemption and sorrow in their voice?

Happily, I report Interpol and I are back on speaking terms, and things are going well. In a similar vein as 2002’s post-punk calling card Turn On The Bright Lights and 2004’s genius sophomore offering Antics, Interpol seemingly remembered what brought them to the dance. Yes, I am a proponent of growth, and expansion, and experimenting and taking one’s music to that next stage and level, and I cannot fully fault Interpol for Our Love To Admire, they did what they were supposed to do, mature. I just wasn’t too happy with the results.

Therefore, enough about the past and onto the present and future.

2010 is going to be remembered as a year that produced many top notch albums from an array of artists. There must be at least 25-30 great records this year, and we can count this album in that company. I firmly believe This will whet the appetites of any possibly disenchanted fans of the band.  Present are some of the darker, more brooding Joy Division-esque aspects that caught our attention in the first place. However, in revisiting their past, Interpol was able to find that growth in which they had hinted in 2007. Taking from lessons learned, we have been presented with band firing on all cylinders, even in the face of change (long-time bassist Carlos D made his departure upon the conclusion of recording), to provide the full Interpol experience.

The opener, “Success” has an almost later New Order feel to it, finishing with a driving dance beat coupled with a group chant-along chorus. The single, “Lights” is an exercise in crescendo building, not really going anywhere, yet satisfying nonetheless, giving way to the spry bounce of “Barricades”, and the spacious “Always Malaise (The Man I Am)”. Interpol comes to a close with a pair of the bands more atmospheric grander pieces, “All Of The Ways” and “The Undoing”, bringing to a finish one of the years more satisfying pieces of work.

Interspersed are 4 more gems to tie the whole thing together, to present a full picture representing the band in a very positive light, having creating an album I am thrilled to say I experienced.

I feel no remorse picking you up yesterday, and am glad this put an end to that chapter of our relationship.

Thank you for coming back to me.

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Monahans – Dim The Aurora (Misra Records)

Monahans was one of those surprises you absolutely did not expect (and yes, I do understand what a surprise is).Comprised of former members of beloved Austin acts Spoon and Milton Mapes, their 2009 debut (it’s brand new to me) Dim The Aurora is one of the smoothest sounding records I have heard in years. If you are not instantly grabbed and simultaneously relaxed upon the opening track “It’s Enough To Leave You…” I feel for you. Even though their live performances have enough edge to them to keep the crowd appreciative and alert throughout, theirs is a brand of Americana Country that is interesting and soothing all at once.

~ by thesynaptic on September 8, 2010.

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