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Interpol: Show Preview 

Wednesday, Jan 26 2011

During the last decade, few artists burst onto the music scene as fully formed as Interpol. 2002's Turn on the Bright Lights was deeply devoted to post-punk and New Wave antecedents — some (Bauhaus, the Afghan Whigs) more renowned than others (Josef K, Lowlife) — yet authentic enough in execution to render it wholly singular and visionary. Similarly, the New York foursome's affinity for Christian Dior suits and striking Sally Hershberger haircuts was too developed to be mere scheme. Eight years later, Bright Lights is still a revelation. The rhythm section of then-bassist Carlos Dengler and drummer Sam Fogarino fluctuates between forceful and unobtrusive. Paul Banks' penchant for abstract, sometimes-comical lyrics makes his moments of clarity ("I had seven faces/Thought I knew which one to wear") all the more powerful. The star is Daniel Kessler: a guitarist in the Will Sergeant mold, a true master of texture and space, light and shade. But the band's follow-ups have been inconsistent: Antics is welcomingly heavier in both substance and sound; Our Love to Admire and 2010's self-titled release (this time without Dengler) feel like long exhales, the band relieved of all tension. This is Interpol's reality: Make a grand entrance and, well, you spend ever after being chased by expectations.

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Ryan Foley

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