Album review: Interpol’s ‘El Pintor’


Three and a half stars

Interpol El Pintor

Music journalists have been clamoring to write “return to form” with every new Interpol release as much as their readers have been pining to read it. The NYC outfit set the bar skyscraper-high with its majestic 2002 debut, Turn Out the Bright Lights, and 2004’s leaner but looser Antics proved Interpol was on fire. But 2007’s Our Love to Admire and 2010’s self-titled effort saw it barely smoldering and sporadically resonant—and only when sticking to the original blueprint.

With El Pintor, the post-punkers’ immersive atmosphere resurfaces—and more importantly, so does the grand but harnessed drama of Bright Lights and Antics. Interpol may be more repetitive than ever, but it also has mastered the build and release of its songs, as evidenced on the phenomenal “My Desire,” guitarist Daniel Kessler sounding like he’s looping his own siren riffs, and comeback single “All the Rage Back Home,” as addictive as anything the act has written. Underrated skinsman Sam Fogarino ably guides every climaxing maelstrom, and frontman Paul Banks even holds his own as bassist, though the verve of former bandmate Carlos D remains largely absent. Even if something still feels missing, familiarity abounds on El Pintor, with Interpol wisely playing to its strengths. A return to form, if not excellence.

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