The sound remains the same, and for a band like Interpol, that’s not a terrible thing. Their sixth studio album, Marauder, has the same twinkling guitars and apathetic vocals that serve as perfect catnip to loyal fans. Where the latest album diverges, is in it’s more chaotic song structure and personalized lyrics. Drums are louder, choruses are messier, and Paul Banks is more accessible than he’s ever been. The album may not spin off hits of the same caliber as “Evil”, “Obstacle 1”, or “Slow Hands”, but what is there – is definitely worth a listen.
Interpol brought in famed producer, Dave Fridmann (MGMT, Spoon, Flaming Lips), to help guide Marauder, and his input may have been the catalyst for some of the subtle changes to their music. The group has also been without original bassist, Carlos Dengler, who left prior to their previous album, El Pintor, and has had Paul Banks filling in on bass since. Despite these changes, Interpol hasn’t strayed far from what works, and the new album starts off exceedingly strong.
“If You Really Love Nothing” hits with jangled guitars and wistful vocals that ebb and flow invitingly. “The Rover” follows up more spectacularly with a string-picking urgency that revs the hallowed sounds of Interpol’s past. While the first two songs are as blissfully frenetic as the album gets, songs like “Flight of Fancy” and “Mountain Child” pick up the slack with slow-burning hooks and momentous buildups.
Banks tries a soporific baritone on some of the tracks and its contrast to his regular tone doesn’t always translate well like on “NYSAMW” and “Stay In Touch.” However, gems like the track, “Number 10” which has the most haunting chorus on the album, and “Party’s Over” which brings hard-hitting percussion over melancholic verse, keep the listener’s curiosity up.
The album concludes with the lackadaisical but oddly intoxicating, “It Probably Matters” which serves as a suitable bookend to Marauder. Interpol doesn’t delude themselves into thinking that they have to reinvent themselves and ‘go disco for an album’ to keep fans. Twenty years into their career, and the songwriting juices are far from drying up. Interpol can be anointed as one of the only Meet Me In The Bathroom-era bands with true longevity, and for that we are thankful.