INTERPOL – TURN ON THE BRIGHT LIGHTS (THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY EDITION)
“We never could have imagined that the album would have reached so many people throughout the world.” With these words Interpol have announced the reissue of “Turn On The Bright Lights”, a deluxe edition of the New York band’s influential debut. The first album came out in 2002, when Interpol were only four university students and, at a first sight, they were only in the right place at the right time. New York was still crying Ground Zero’s tragedy, the grief for the victims was mingled with the lust for rebirth: in this historical instance, a ballad like “New York Cares” could meant much, the dark mood mixed up with a strange new rock energy might be the perfect way to tell and exorcise the fears. But Interpol have shown of being not only the interpreters of a single city in a single moment, but also the representatives of a new generation hanging in the balance between confusion and passion.
Just before Interpol, the Strokes had shook up the New York rock scene, bringing back to the top the Seventies/Eighties curt sound and putting aside the electro deviations. And also Interpol looked back to the past, drawing on the New Wave roots for their music. The most obvious comparison was with Joy Division. For most of their carrier, Interpol have been “persecuted” by this comparison.
Indeed Paul Banks’ baritone voice seems imitate Ian Curtis’ deep timbre; Interpol have the same Joy Division’s reverberate guitars and their same dark and dramatic atmosphere. But while Joy Division’s songs were populated by inner demons and interior awkwardness, Interpol’s music try to conciliate the need to make sense of complicated relationships and the need to follow the instinct.
Musically talking, the search of a distinctive sound is evident in several demos of the reissue and it’s interesting to observe how paranoid and anxious songs become as smooth and psychedelic, with so rich and sophisticated textures (for example “Stella Was A Diver And She Was Always Down” and “Leif Erickson”).
Listen to Interpol’s evolution could be a teaching experience especially for those young musicians that are searching their own specific sound. After ten years, Interpol have delineated the distinctive characteristics of their “nu new wave”, leaving behind comparisons and associations. Those who were tagged as “imitators”, now inspire countless (actual) imitators.