When starting the review for the latest album from New York band Interpol, I was surprised that it was their sixth. Produced by Dave Friedmann (Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev, etc), the band will always be stuck on their fourth album in my mind. Turn On the Bright Lights released in 2002 is a perfect distillation of their sound with second album Antics an excellent follow-up. Three more albums followed with varying degrees of success.
Two dense rock songs start the disc off including first single “The Rover”. Where it starts to feel like an Interpol record is “Stay In Touch” where the guitars lock in to a familiar band sound and Sam Fogarino’s drum work on the snare/hi hat really drives the song home. The low rumble of “Mountain Child” is next followed by “Nysmaw” where Daniel Kessler’s and Paul Bank’s guitars perfectly lock-in with Fogarino. A shimmering guitar starts off third single “Number 10” that feels airlifted right of the debut before the band crashes in. Last track “It Probably Matters” starts with the lyric “I tried to be a faithful man…” with Paul Banks doing his best Kings of Leon vocal impression.
The band works best when there is air in the songs to help expand the flames but at times that gets suffocated by dense rawk songs (both of the first tracks have been released as singles). As noted elsewhere, Interpol is one of the few bands from the ‘Meet Me in the Bathroom’ era that has turned into a legacy act. This has the knock-on effect of needing those rawk tracks for their live show to get the early evening crowd revved up in between the classics. Interpol are in that rarified position of having perfected their sound on the first album and are stuck having to live up to that. On Marauder they do a good job of adding some different touches to their sound and proving there is still life left in those well-tailored black suits.
In the fall of 1964, folk rock duo Simon & Garfunkel released their debut album, Wednesday Morning, 3AM. Originally named Tom and Jerry, the Queens NY duo had scored a minor hit in the New York area several years before with “Hey School Girl” before they drifted apart. With the New York folk scene in full swing, the duo regrouped in the early 60s to start performing together again.
Though they would go on to great success, the debut is patchy at best. It is mix of folk standards (“Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream”/ “The Times They Are A-changin’”), gospel music (“Go Tell It On The Mountain”), and several original compositions written by Simon. The harmonies on the album are quite good but the duo bring little grit or soul to the traditional songs and instead come across as a squeaky-clean version of many of their peers.
Of the originals, “Bleecker Street” is a nice track about Greenwich Village. “He Was My Brother” is a good if earnest eulogy written by Simon about his friend Andrew Goodman who was killed in Mississippi at the hands of the KKK along with Michael Schwerner and James Chaney. The most famous song here is the original version of “Sounds of Silence”. Here the track appears backed by just an acoustic guitar, unadorned with the instrumentation later added by producer Tom Wilson that turned it into a folk-rock classic. Soon after the release, Simon moved to London but was later called back to NY by Garfunkel when the remixed version of “The Sounds of Silence” became a #1 smash hit. Unfortunately, there is little here that is essential to the Simon and Garfunkel story. The best thing is probably the album cover. Seen as old fashioned by some at the time, viewed through the Mad Men 60s prism, it is a classic shot of upstart young New Yorkers busking in the underground.