Ayo Jegede
reviews editor
September 29, 2004
Amazon Disco:
Turn On the Bright Lights Turn On the Bright Lights
August 20, 2002
Matador Records
Antics Antics
September 28, 2004
Matador Records
Antics: The Special Edition Antics: The Special Edition
August 23, 2005
Matador Records
Remix Remix
November 22, 2005
Matador Records
The Black EP The Black EP
August 26, 2003
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Thereís something dangerously assuaging about the organ undulating through 'No Exit,' Anticsí opening song. It's dangerous because Turn on The Bright Lights was almost entirely bereft of play, instead vacillating between cooled desperation and an apprehensive ethos. And if the organ sounds anomalous, Paul Banks's opening lines are effectively teasers of things to come: "We ainít goin' to the town/We're going to the city/Gonna trek this shit around/and make this place a heart to be a part of/Again." The goal of both the organ and Banks's eased lyrical position is to disarm your biases; to in effect say that Turn On The Bright Lights was not the bandís apogee, just the expression of a certain mood at the time. Really, Antics is an invitation to rediscover the group through a different lens.

The playful bass line that starts 'Evil' and Banks's celeritous lyrics push playfully toward Daniel Kessler's first guitar strum. Both 'Evil' and 'Narc' inch the group successfully towards pop territory as I find myself uncontrollably tapping whatever loose appendage at my disposal to Sam Foragino's more protean drumming--at certain points he even drops into a charming, reggae-like pattern on 'Narc' and 'Public Pervert.' Banks sings on 'Narc,' "Love, can you love me, babe?/Love, is this loving babe?/Is Time Turning Around?" Simple but sweeping, brutally sincere but still careful, the lyrics possess a definite timidity that compliments the anxious, bubbling sonic backdrop. The greater give-and-take dynamics between the two can powerfully illustrate and make central a specific sentiment, as on 'Take You On a Cruise' when the music drops away to Banks's uncomplicated guitar plucks and singing, the lyrics again making a powerful show: "Baby don't you try to fight Me/Baby don't you try to Fight/Baby it will be alright."

There's a positive, palatable zeitgeist running through Antics, one which may initially be off-putting. But I find it difficult to be truly disappointed with such an accomplished work without first summarizing the band's range, something many listeners prematurely did after Turn on The Bright Lights. From the beginning of the work--that dangerously assuaging organ--you must first and temporarily sequester the vivid memory of their first work and tear down the rigidified shrine established in your head. There's such immaculate and immense territory to be appreciated on Antics that will go undiscovered if, as tempting as they may be, your feelings for their old work remain.

The album title is perhaps best indicative of the type of music to be found: playful and pliable, itís serious only because of the great energy used to animate it all. Antics is just as concentrated as anything the band has ever done and just as engrossing. Furthermore, their latest pieces sounds and feels truly manumitted from some nagging specter for it is lighter but in no way approximate or ambiguous. Some have reduced the album to a series of 'A-Sides and B-Sides' while others are unwilling to see past the bandís dark dimensions. Yet, as previously mentioned, Interpol never saw itself as inhabiting a specific emotional spectrum, much less any emotional spot. Rather it is their imperative to be as motley, expansive, and supple and this offers them the greatest odds for long-term virility. As Banks sings on 'C'mere:' "You said today, You know exactly how I feel/I have my doubts, little girl, Iím in love with something real/It could be me thatís changing."

Release date: September 28, 2004
Label: Matador
Rating: 9.5 / 10