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Interpol Has Released Two New Tracks, “Toni” And “Something Changed”

Interpol’s Paul Banks

This month, Interpol has released two new songs and two accompanying videos taken from an upcoming album “The Other Side of Make-Believe,” out July 15th on Matador Records. The 2 videos for “Toni” and “Something Changed” work like a little movie with the same characters: a young couple, a crowd chasing them with baseball bats, and Paul Banks observing while peeling his tangerine in a vintage car with a flashing light on its roof. In “Toni,” the ballet-like pursuits seem to give a nod to West Side Story while in “Something Changed,” the couple is running in Adam and Eve’s apparel, chased from the garden of Eden – the man even has a tree tattooed in the middle of his chest, with scripture that reads “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.- Hebrews 11:1” This makes me think that there must be many more biblical references in the lyrics and video.

The music has all the Interpol landmarks: melancholic and post-punk tones, throbbing bass riffs, Banks’s signature dark baritone, and mysterious lyrical imagery, way too vague to understand anything at the first listening. “Toni” has a more dynamic melody than the sparse keys of “Something Changed” but both tracks are quite bleak. I know that a band cannot repeat itself but, if these tracks reflect the music of this new album, this is gonna be on the soft and sad side of Interpol, and far from the kick of their “Our Love to Admire” and “Antics” period (my favorite). These days, Interpol sounds much more like the National, with, maybe, a touch of Arcade Fire here and there. I honestly miss the authoritarian Interpol, the grandiose sound of empowering songs like “Slow Hands” or “The Heinrich Maneuver” that you could blast through the speakers of your car with your fist in the air. Between the two, “Toni” is a bit closer to this memory, but these new tracks are definitively more about atmosphere and subtle soundscapes than triumphant sound.

Last year, during an interview with Rolling Stone, Paul Banks explained that the new music “might be super fucking different,” and that “A few of the songs, in particular, have really unabashedly positive sentiments. Something that feels good is the aspiration.” Never mind, I would not call these songs feel-good music.

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