Friday, 7 December 2012

''Turn On The Bright Lights'' Interpol - 10 Years On

Yes, it's been a whole ten years since we were first introduced to Paul Banks, Daniel Kessler, Carlos D and Sam Fogarino on ''Turn On The Bright Lights'' but a decade later, it sounds just as relevant and innovative as it did back then. Let's take a look back at one of Heavy Metal Mouth's all time favourite albums, a landmark of the 00's and arguably the greatest product of indie rock since the turn of the millenium.

Everyone is aware of the fact that the 00's in New York was a time of mass creation and celebration for indie acts with the party being led by The Strokes and Yeah Yeah Yeahs with their debut releases ''Is This It?'' and ''Fever To Tell'' respectively, but Interpol were in no mood for festivities when their turn came; in fact, they sounded hopelessly lost, and this atomospheric darkness that consumed ''Turn On The Bright Lights'' was what seperated them from the bands they emerged alongside. The release of Interpol's debut was met with universal praise, introducing a new generation to the sound of post-punk as sculpted by the likes of Joy Division and Echo & The Bunnymen.

It's all been slowly downhill for Interpol since their debut and it's not hard to see why- the bar had been set impossibly high. Turn On The Bright Lights quickly led to inescapable comparisons with Joy Division following it's use of a minimalist rythym section led by Carlos D's slient but deadly basslines accompanied with the wandering guitar lines of Kessler and Banks, who seemed to thrive playing against each other throughout the record. Banks' monotonous yet somehow strongly emotive vocal delivery only increased the shadow of Ian Curtis that dominated most reviews at the time of it's release, but in reality he's more Lou Reed- effortlessly cool and boldly aware of his own intelligence and sexual appeal.

The fact is that Interpol are a far different band than most would have you believe to Joy Divison or any of their predecessors. To compare the two is futile and insulting to the NY four piece because Turn On The Bright Lights has become a classic in it's own right, one that stands alongside ''Closer'', ''Ocean Rain'' or ''The Queen Is Dead'' and in my opinion even surpasses them.

The beautiful, shoegaze influenced sounds of opener ''Untitled'' and single ''NYC'' are in stark contrast to the explosion of guitar that dominates the album on songs like ''PDA'', ''Say Hello To Angels'' and ''The New'', while it's all finished with ''Leif Erikson'', a soft yet aggressive track that seems to combine the two approaches found throughout TOTBL and executes it's final moments in perfect style.

The beauty of Interpol's work and the reason they've always been so enjoyable live is the apparent simplicty of their work, but the fact is it took real creative and technical genius to acheive something as epic and glorious as ''Turn On The Bright Lights''.

So ten years later, Interpol's debut ranks as Heavy Metal Mouth's pick for album of it's decade and the century so far. And I'll be surprised if I'm not saying that in another ten.


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