Getting closer to a new release from Interpol makes the listener worry, because the band from New York is one of the main victims of the “watershed syndrome”. Turn on the Bright Lights (2002) redefined the edges of post punk, bringing it back to life and awakening many sleeping listeners. And giving birth to a new wave of post punk still kicking.
It was immediately clear that they would survive repeating themselves or they would die trying to change course. To be honest they tried to do it in some way (see Our Love to Admire, 2007) with modest results. Here is the paradox: they work in “playing the Interpol”, but in doing it they sound self-derivative.
Their recent release, A fine Mess EP, doesn’t escape the paradox, although in the effort of writing good songs. The first track, “Fine Mess”, recalls openly the first album: syncopated, rough, with a dramatic crescendo. Certainly the best. “No Big Deal”, skinny, funky and languid, grows up when the deep bass line starts leading the game.
“Real Life” starts with a guitar followed by the drums and a nervous riff in the background. A spectral march that takes a breath in the refrain, going back to a sticky tension. “The Weekend” is an eighties-dance that offers a poetic dialogue between guitar and vocals. The structure of the final “Thrones” doesn’t leave particular sensations, if not the “already heard” one.
At the end we go back to the paradox: reproducing the sound of Turn On The Bright Lights is nice but sentences the band to an infinite repetition.