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Interpol’s Marauder Reviewed

Marauder is the sixth studio album by American indie rock band Interpol.

It was released on August 24, 2018, by Matador Records, 4 years after their last album called El Pintor. This record is not about “a painter” anymore but the main theme evokes wandering, such as The Rover, the theme song of this new LP released earlier on June 7, 2018. It talks about nostalgia and dreams, but also escapism, where everything seems possible. It is more autobiographic in terms of lyrics. As far as the music is concerned, this album is like a back-in-time record where we can regain Interpol’s classic sound which had a bit disappeared from the previous albums. The band is now back in a pretty good shape!overpower

The exercise of complete listening was necessary to be able to make up my own mind and get into their new universe. Actually, I really liked the album, the first time I listened to it because sounds seemed familiar to me. For example, I immediately got a crush on Flight of Fancy because this song is like Interpol’s epitome. Rhythm, vocals, guitar playing and composing… Everything on this song reminded me of early albums, and the performance is perfectly executed and produced.

The album opens with If You Really Love Nothing, an efficient and flawless single with a kinda Stereophonics’s touch at the beginning. The video clip of this song includes actress Kristen Stewart in the casting and it is structured like a mini-movie, such as the one for The Rover, the obsessive seminal track of the album. The video for The Rover is the origin story of the character described in the song. Leader Paul Banks said in an interview for Consequence Of Sounds that he created kinds of screenplays in his mind when he was writing Marauder. These cinematic influences truly fulfill the entire tracklist.

Besides the expected first tunes, the listener can also discover Interpol’s new faces. The third song called Complications sounds more sluggish than usual, even sticky and venomous. Singer Paul Banks plays with his dark baritone voice so well on Stay In Touch and Mountain Child, with reference to The National’s singer Matt Berninger. That song begins darkly and slowly and ends in a fury. American record producer Dave Fridmann helped the band and worked on this new record as he recently did with Tame Impala, MGMT, OK Go or The Flaming Lips earlier. Fridmann often brings a distinctive and expansive sound to the albums he produces. That’s exactly what he did for example on Number 10 with a blistering opening just after the subtle guitar introduction. This one sounds like Slow Hands from 2018 put in a spinner!

Surveillance is a very melodious track but a little flat for me and NYSMAW (aka Now You See Me at Work) doesn’t deserve any special mention. But the real sensation comes at the end with the triad Party’s Over, Interlude 2, It Probably Matters. We can particularly recognize Julian Plenti’s other materials or Banks & Steelz rap influences in the rhythm changes on Party’s Over, my favorite song from this album with the drumline composed as a marching band theme, whereas Interlude 2 is clearly inspired by David Lynch : this lull break could have been used for the Twin Peaks soundtrack (I could easily imagine Agent Cooper in the black lodge or David Bowie in the delirious Lynch’s teapot with this background sound…). Interlude 2 gave me goosebumps literally. The ending theme It Probably Matters acts like final credits for a film, when the light is turned on at the movie theater. Banks’ voice is perfectly mastered and brings wisdom at the end.

Paul Banks recounted on the radio how Interpol’s recent tour of their 2002 album Turn On The Bright Lights influenced Marauder‘s recording process, especially in order to give a “live feeling” to the album. Finally, the whole album is minimalistic compared with both of the previous ones. Songs are linked with frenzy and speed, which gives a feeling of overpowering in spite of the slow tempo of some tracks. Paul Banks, Sam Fogarino and Daniel Kessler used less bass guitar, less keyboard, less artificial effect and more drums in this one. The result is intense and filled with an unadorned beauty.

Interpol will perform at Madison Square Garden, NYC, on February 16, 2019, for the second time of its career.

Marauder’s artwork / cover by graphic designer Matt de Jong

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