After a four-year interlude, the resident New York rock band Interpol is back with its sixth studio album, Marauder.
The album’s spectral tale of desolation and the unknown follows a character scared of being left alone –– this sentiment translated through bright guitar licks, echoey vocals and a heavy, riding crash of drums on pretty much every song this release has to offer.
“If You Really Love Nothing,” the first track off the release, introduces the cynical concept of being unable to love. Paul Banks, lead singer of the band, sings “I know that you could just leave forever,” vulnerably revealing the pain of inconsistency and insecurity. The song carries a swing on the choruses that provides a brighter, airier mood than many of the others on the album.
The main single off of Marauder, “The Rover,” is easily the most dynamic song the group produced on this track list. Interpol tends to keep the drum patterns consistent on their songs, but “The Rover” introduces more compelling, punchy fills on verses and chorus parts rather than just during instrumental transitions.
The special interludes that season the album are by far some of the most interesting tracks. It’s quite uncommon to hear anything produced by the band that isn’t at a steady tempo in 4/4 time; the lyricless, atmospheric interludes give listeners the chance to step out of that timing and lead smoothly into the next track.
“NYSMAW” breaks out from the mold a bit, introducing an entrancing electronic glimmer of sound in the background of the vocals. This is one of the few tracks on the album where Banks’ vocals are at the absolute forefront of the song. This new and computerized sound is a relief from the steady tone that Marauder carries.
Considering the heaviness of Marauder’s theme, the interludes are most appreciated after tracks such as “Flight of Fancy.” The lyrics “You reach out to emptiness/ Until the reaching out feels empty too” follow the isolated mood of the overall album. Toward the end of the song, the chorus builds into a section of harmonic chaos as you’re thrust into the character’s conflicted psyche.
This is one of the most intense few seconds of the whole album –– a type of moment that Marauder unfortunately doesn’t feature often.
The severe lack of badass basslines, synthy guitar riffs and vocal experimentation are by far the most disappointing parts of this release. Older Interpol songs such “Evil,” “All The Rage Back Home,” and “Rest My Chemistry” all contain some element that sets them apart from the rest of the songs in Interpol’s discography.
The only aspects that truly diverge on Marauder are the very slight changes in pacing. While the narrative is cohesive and darkly alluring, it could have benefitted from more dynamic storytelling.
“Number 10” strays from the narrative to share the story of a forbidden romance between the narrator and an elusive woman, who goes by the name of Ella. The song starts with a slow skipping of notes across a guitar neck, and changes suddenly into the fast-paced retelling of this secret love hidden in the basement.
The album art for all of Interpol’s records follows a dark, edgy theme with bold text and slightly haunting imagery. Marauder fits the mysterious mood with its black-and-white photo of a detached, suited man among antique audio equipment in an otherwise barren room. This cover art is fitting for the story of each song on the album, and was definitely a good design choice for the band to visualize the saga.
Besides a few notable moments, there ultimately just isn’t much that stands out on Marauder. Interpol has had a cemented sound since the beginning, and has proven that it doesn’t intend on straying from it much. Is that a bad thing? Not inherently.
But artistically, Interpol needs to think about what comes next for its sound –– listeners can only take so much of the exact same thing.