Interpol releases long awaited fifth studio album, ‘El Pintor’

Review Grade: 2.5/5 Stars

After a three year hiatus and the departure of former bassist, Carlos Dengler, New York City “post-punk” band, Interpol, has finally released their long awaited fourth studio album, “El Pintor”.

The album was just recently released on Sept. 9, and has received a positive critical reception from many music outlets. However, it lacks that “wow” factor, considering it was a highly anticipating comeback from the band.

It’s disappointing to know, that the last two Interpol albums have not had the same impact as their first three albums [all albums being released on independent record label, Matador Records].

Their debut album “Turn On The Bright Lights” was a critically acclaimed masterpiece released in 2002, and was one of the albums [along with The Strokes, “Is This It”] that helped introduce a revival to the post-punk genre, since the days of Joy Division, Television, Echo and the Bunnymen, and Talking Heads.

Their follow up album released in 2004, “Antics”, was yet another impressive record that pushed the boundaries of the band’s style & sound, captivating them to the top of the indie-rock scene; along with other acts such as The Killers, She Wants Revenge, and Franz Ferdinand, who all emerged into big name acts at the time of Interpol’s second release.

Interpol’s third album, “Our Love To Admire”, was a solid record released in 2007, that showed the band’s progression into a more “alternative, yet un-commercialized” sound.

The act then followed with the highly criticized and unfavorable 2010 self-titled album, “Interpol”, which also was the last album recorded with Dengler. Although not entirely horrible (as three of the ten songs were solid), Interpol left the music scene, shocking and disappointing loyal fans.

Lead singer and guitarist, Paul Banks, would later go on to record his solo effort, “Banks”, in 2012. The band re-released a deluxe version of “Turn On The Bright Lights” in 2013, in honor of the album’s ten-year anniversary.

Earlier this year, the band returned to the scene announcing the release of “El Pintor”, and many tour dates throughout North America and the UK.

Interpol showcased new songs from the album such “All The Rage Back Home”, and “Anywhere”, during on tour performances, including festivals such as July’s Pitchfork Festival in Chicago, and most recently FYF Fest in Los Angeles in August.

El Pintor” did feature decent tracks and provided a sense of “welcome back” nostalgia to the loyal fan base of the band.

The single “All The Rage Back Home”, is perhaps the best track on the album as it is very remeniscient of a few certain tracks on “Turn On The Bright Lights”, and provides the “Interpol sound”, fans are accustomed to hearing.

The sad lyrics and melodic riff at the beginning of the track, was very reminiscent to the intros of both “Leif Erickson” and “Stella was a diver and she was always down”, featured on their debut album. While the explosive fast pace sound at the 50 second mark was similar to that of “PDA”, only with a more eccentric vocal sound.

Songs such as the rapid “Anywhere” and the beautiful put together “Everything is Wrong”, clearly provided the positive aspects of the album as they seemingly help revive Interpol’s original sound.

Other notable tracks such as “Ancient Ways” and “My Blue Supreme” made the album a decent listen. Lyrically speaking, the lyrics Banks wrote for “El Pintor”, were deep and very analytical.

The rest of the tracks failed to solidify the classic “Interpol sound” revival as they at times do not sound like Interpol, or as Pitchfork Media said, “a band that wants to be Interpol.”

While “El Pintor” is not entirely a bad album, it does fail to captivate the glory of the notable past Interpol created the last 11 years in the 2000’s music scene. Whether it’s the band progressing into a new chapter of their music career, or the important absence of Dengler, you decide. Let’s just hope this isn’t the end for Interpol.

You can stream “El Pintor” for free on Spotify or buy the album in stores now.

Music video via VEVO.