10th Anniversary Review: Interpol – Antics

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When making ‘Antics‘, Interpol created something rather similar to their debut, so it is a good thing that their first album was an excellent piece of work to emulate. Interpol crafted a more streamlined version of ‘Turn On The Bright Lights‘ when making ‘Antics‘. Their sophomore effort displayed less emotion and, on guitar, fewer instances of tremolo picking. Overall, ‘Antics‘ arguably features more accessible songs  without warranting accusations that the group had sold out, if there were any such cries from the audience.

Probably to a greater extent than on ‘Antics‘ than on their previous album, Carlos D’s riffs and fills add excitement to the album, as if there was not enough to shout about already without those. However, the guitars still very much showed up for the sessions with star turns which match the bass at least some of the time. If solos are defined as sections abundant in individual greatness which are distinct from main riffs and bridge, there is on the album a lack of lengthy  solos with the exception of the end of ‘Not Even Jail’, but even that isn’t exactly Hendrix territory, it seems. However, there are times when only one instrument is present, and this contrasts effectively with the kind of wall of sound created when every player is sonically present and interlinking with each other. While not exactly miraculous, it is still a great achievement that all four instruments combine together so well despite each player’s differences in sound: for example, the guitars often function as the yin to the yang of the bassist and singer.

As well as the presence of a mixture of sounds and vibes within many of the tracks, it is notable that as a collection of songs the album is a stew made up of noticeably diverse ingredients. ‘Next Exit’ is not a bad song; indeed, it is one of the best tracks on the album. However, it does not really seem to belong on the album. It seems warmer and more uplifting than the rest of the collection, which contains the creepy-sounding ‘Take You on a Cruise’ and the tense ‘Not Even Jail’.

Although there is strong competition from lines on the latter song as well as ‘Evil’ and ‘Slow Hands’, overall ‘Public Pervert’ arguably has the best lyrics on the album, with lines like, “If time is my vessel, then learning to love might be my way back to sea” and “Perhaps heartstrings resuscitate the fading sounds of your life”, and it is perhaps ironic that it’s one of the least dark and most poetic songs on Antics. Generally it seems that the album is a compelling but disquieting portrait of a certain kind of person who has issues and may well be evil. Even the singer’s references to ‘love’ seem to be cloaked in or surrounded by bleakness or bad feelings such as a sense of impending doom or at least the thought that there will be trouble.

Despite taking all of these positives into account, this may not be Interpol’s best full-length record. Arguably, their third album is greater than ‘Antics‘, a collection which only just trumps their first. That said, ‘Antics‘ is still an indie classic, combining lyrics that are sometimes great with consistently good musical craftsmanship from all instrumentalists.

David J. Lownds
David J. Lownds is an aspiring author and philosopher who also writes for Muso’s Guide, Far Out Magazine and his own blog (davidjlownds.wordpress.com). He listens to almost every style of music from jazz to grunge to underground hip-hop, and is learning to play bass and acoustic guitar. CURRENTLY LISTENING TO: Libertines, Green Day, John Frusciante, Arctic Monkeys SPECIALIST SUBJECT: The life and work of Dave Grohl, and Anthony Kiedis.

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