Our Love To Admire

Probably a track or two short of being a stone-cold classic, Our Love To Admire nonetheless makes for hugely rewarding listening.

Interpol have certainly adopted a low-key approach in the build-up to their third album, Our Love To Admire. The New York quartet have kept the pre-release publicity to an absolute minimum, and both the artwork and the tracklisting arrived quite late in the day. Of course, there could be numerous reasons for the tardiness, but it’s difficult not to reach the conclusion that it’s a deliberate attempt by the band to keep a lid on the hype that will inevitably surround this record, their first for a major label.

In an age when the key details – and often the content – of so many albums are routinely leaked months in advance, it’s thoroughly refreshing to come across a group who believe in preserving a bit of mystique. Indeed, minimalism is manifestly a key aspect of the Interpol aesthetic. They don’t perform flabby cover versions, or put out stopgap albums, or release tie-in DVDs full of crappy extras. As Morrissey once remarked, “You don’t need all this fabrication… it’s just the way you use the basic utensils, like talent.”

Paul Banks and co. haven’t put a foot wrong in their career to date, building up a substantial underground following with Turn On The Bright Lights before breaking into the mainstream with Antics, one of the finest rock albums of the decade. Although it doesn’t deviate hugely from the established Interpol template (this is still dark, goth-tinged rock played by four men who appear to have stepped straight out of an Edward Gorey drawing), Our Love To Admire is another hugely impressive album.

Opener ‘Pioneer To The Falls’ kicks off with distinctive ringing guitar notes and Banks delivering a characteristically opaque lyric in that unmistakable baritone (“Show me the dirt pile and I will pray that the soul can take three stowaways”). The intro also features a keyboard part that gives the song a beautifully rustic feel, before it builds into a typically intense and dramatic Interpol soundscape.

‘No I In Threesome’ (a strong contender for song title of the year) commences with a guitar line heavily influenced by – who else? – Joy Division, and throughout alternates between elegant chamber pop and more abrasive sonic textures. First single ‘The Heinrich Manoeuvre’ is a thumping rocker that seems to be a withering put-down of an ex (“I don’t want to read your thoughts anymore”), while the driving ‘Mammoth’ finds Banks in decidedly impatient mood, suggesting to the object of his desire that “Now we should dance like two fucking twins”. Using that line in a club would most likely result in a restraining order, but in the context of Interpol’s intoxicating sonic brew, it works a treat.

The album’s stand-out track, and one of the best songs Interpol have written to date, is ‘Rest My Chemistry’, a gorgeous slow-burner wherein Banks vividly conjures an atmosphere of lovelorn ennui (“I haven’t slept in two days/I’ve bathed in nothing but sweat… tonight I’m gonna rest my chemistry).

The closing tracks on Interpol’s previous two albums (‘Leif Erickson’ and ‘A Time To Be So Small’, respectively) were small miracles of songs, and the band continue the tradition of ending on a high note with ‘Lighthouse’. Banks emits a ghostly wail over ambient guitar noise highly reminiscent of the Cocteau Twins, before the track concludes with an ominous, Cure-style coda.

Probably a track or two short of being a stone-cold classic, Our Love To Admire nonetheless makes for hugely rewarding listening.

 

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