Interpol shaped the sound of the nougthies - with their atmospheric pieces they formed the antithesis to the rock revival.
“Still in shape, my methods refined,” sings Paul Banks on ‘Toni’, the opening track and lead single from Interpol’s 7th LP The Other Side of Make-Believe. The album breaks fresh ground for the group: parallel to exploring the sinister undercurrents of contemporary life, Interpol’s new songs are imbued with pastoral longing and newfound grace. Daniel Kessler‘s serpentine guitar arrangements crest skywards, Samuel Fogarino shatters his percussive precision into strange metres, while Paul Banks’ sonorous voice exudes a vulnerability that is likely to catch most long-term fans of the band off guard. After all, says Banks, “there’s always a seventh time for a first impression.”
The Other Side of Make-Believe began remotely across 2020. In early 2021, Interpol reconvened to flesh out new material at a rented home in the Catskills, before completing it later that year in North London, working for the first time with production veteran Flood (Mark Ellis), as well as teaming up again with former co-producer Alan Moulder.
If fate didn’t quite ordain the circumstances for Interpol’s seventh album, it was at least fortunate that the band had happily concluded their Marauder cycle on stage in front of 30 thousand-odd Peruvian fans. Rather than be sent scrambling like so many other musicians, when the first lockdown clamped Interpol had no new release to promote and no tour to rearrange. They quickly got into a productive mood.
The Other Side of Make-Believe will soon feel as familiar in the public consciousness as it is to Paul Banks, Daniel Kessler and Sam Fogarino. Ever the paradox, the noirish trio have weathered nearly seven albums’ and several line-ups’ worth of rollercoasters far better than anyone might have predicted, never letting their sense of purpose escape. Over time, tags like ‘alternative’ and ‘indie’ have even faded from view. They are simply a rock group nowadays; one of the most distinctive, consequential and enduring rock groups of the 21st century so far. And a quarter-century into their lifespan, the band are all fired up again.