Looking back to older albums, it seems the most memorable aspects of Interpol tracks were the changes in energy and pace. Each song was careful and deliberate in the cumulative buildup, and the climax of individual songs and each album as a whole was strategic. The bass and treble are meticulously crafted to interact and play with one another under vague lyrics about love in deceptively simple layering that leaves interpretation up to the listener.
These familiar themes also exist to some degree on El Pintor. It’s more reminiscent of Interpol’s hit album Turn On The Bright Lights than the generally disliked Interpol. After a basic start in “All the Rage Back Home”, it becomes apparent that this song merely eases you into the track list, rather than setting the tone for the entire album. The more segmented and clearly defined instrumentals and transitions of this introduction song give way to constantly changing and developing pieces that shift between establishing a familiar presence and expanding new sounds. The memorable opening riffs of “My Desire” change into mere texture by the climax to provide a great listen. This feels like the true beginning to the album. “All the Rage Back Home”, also the opening single to the album, is like the practice and tune-up before the big performance.
Each song then progresses in a similar fashion. A simple riff leads into the full band, which then introduces more and more until the inevitable climax and fall. While this is simple and may seem repetitive throughout El Pintor, Interpol deserves praise not for surprising the listener or providing a large amount of variation in their tracks, but in refining their tried and true nuances.
Because of this familiarity, it is difficult to describe the differences from song to song. The only real variations are what they choose to bring to the forefront, and the listener’s own personal enjoyment of the main hook or intensity. The established bass line giving way to the long vocal strands, repetitive guitar, and wildly varied percussion pace changes of “Anywhere” might be more appealing compared to the more laid-back, somber, and consistent “My Blue Supreme”. This similar structure, however, means that there is very little possibility that personal opinion of the album will actually change by listening to more of it.
All in all, listeners should not expect to be completely blown away by the album or for it to like Interpol if they disliked them before. For those that already enjoyed the band, this is a good addition to their discography and worthy of a listen.