Interpol sound so timeless “El Pintor” that you could think of this music having been released ten years or seven years ago and you would not feel any difference. Are these just some found tracks from back then?
But let’s look and listen to the details. It’s made in 2014. The music just doesn’t seem to age, it’s totally out of time. So what’s different? Bassist Carlos Dengler left the band after the recordings to their last album “Interpol”. Now they are three, frontman Paul Banks played the bass on El Pintor.
None of the early 2010’s trendy styles rubbed off on Interpol’s sound. On El Pintor we don’t find experiments, no new instrumentations, no disco attitudes, just their moody stubborn and melancholic music, as if it was still 2007 and no facebook and no digital revolution had happened. As if we never had smartphones, neither apps and no music stream services and no youtube.
The album El Pintor sounds like a continuation of “Or Love To Admire”, like unreleased tracks or a collection of B-Sides of that time. It seems nothing has changed, we have the same powerful dark pieces as back then. Guest musicians didn’t bring out anything new, even without Carlos D: same sound, new story. That’s some kind of mystery.
Ok, we have a little synth intro there, a little jazz drums here, a upright bass line here. But nevertheless, all of the songs resemble other great songs from the past. They seem like clones or twins reproducing old successful patterns crossbred with melodies from 2002. After their failed last release, the self-titled album on major label Capitol Records, Interpol are back on Matador, and back to their old sound, better to say a re-production of it. The image of the anagram “El Pintor” for “Interpol” works perfectly fine for what we hear on this album: The new songs are anagrams of the old ones, old pieces rearranged in new structures.
Altogether the album becomes better when listened several times. Emerging best tracks are “Same Town, New Story”, “My Blue Supreme” and “Twice as Hard”, still they do not overthrough other memorable Interpol releases. While re-listening the older albums you will surely realize they didn’t add news, but simply seemed to recombine old success stories.
So this album remains a treasure for nostalgics. Those who embraced Interpol in 2002, because they were nostalgic about the eighties, post-punk and guitars in general, will now be nostalgic about the early 2000’s, when guitar music found its new peak with Interpol being one of the leaders of the revival back then.
But comparing to Interpol’s followers, that got lost in the new disco movement and over-experimented with electronics or became simply too cheesy, Interpol put up a landmark that stands alone, for its nostalgia for itself. And yeah, maybe it was indeed twice as hard to make a fifth Interpol album, after number 4 was a hard try and fail already. To celebate the ancient ways, keeps out of harm’s way, but does not necessarily grow a band’s authority.