Interpol’s major-label debut, Our Love to Admire, isn’t as monochrome (or monotonous) as its previous two albums. “Pioneer to the Falls” is arguably the richest song they’ve ever recorded, a track that channels the stormy textures of the Cure’s Pornography. Death-march piano and woodwinds add counter-melodies; a giant quivering mass of strings swells in the middle section, and horns pipe in at the end.
Like usual, vocalist Paul Banks presides over this song like a stern preacher peering at his congregation -- although elsewhere, the forceful, R.E.M.-like “Mammoth” finds the stentorian singer breaking a sweat, and he’s in creepy-boyfriend mode on the cinematic highlight “No I in Threesome.” In fact, Admire often resembles a movie score. Nearly three minutes into “Wrecking Ball,” the song nearly stops dead and continues as a quasi-instrumental. Mournful guitar, synths and horns (along with faint vocals) slowly build and wind around each other like an Explosions in the Sky song. The understated “Lighthouse” is just as lush. Reminiscent of Nick Cave’s somber sea-songs, it’s quite slow, and sonically resembles the quiet peace of sleeping on a boat in the middle of a lake. In short, Admire covers the entire black-through-white palette, instead of just a few shades of gray. –-Annie Zaleski