Monday, March 09, 2015

An introduction to Interpol (the band)

I know I'm dating myself here, but I thought you should know that if you're a fan of the rock of the 80's, there is still hope for you. When I was a teenager, I found relief from British Invasion Rock in KROQ, when it was a great station. They were playing bands like Talking Heads, Oingo Boingo, Devo and Wall of Voodoo. Very unusual, very eclectic, very far from the beaten path of Classic Rock stations like KMET and KLOS. I was hooked. Even as a middle aged man, I still go back from time to time to listen to those tunes.

About a decade ago (wow, it's been that long), I was sampling tracks on eMusic and found Interpol's "Turn On the Bright Lights". After listening to about 20-30 seconds of 3 of their tracks, I liked them enough to buy the CD as a set of digital tracks. I've been a fan ever since. I am particularly fond of "PDA", "Say Hello To The Angels" and "Obstacle 1".

Interpol has a great bass/drum combo that drives their music and that makes a great foundation for anything else they lay on top. It's 5 men with 3 guitars, a keyboard and drum kit. There isn't much keyboards in their music, so you might not see them as a New Wave kind of band like I do. But upon hearing the guitar riffs and lead vocals of Paul Banks, I am reminded at once of "Anarchy" by the Sex Pistols.

While I do enjoy the music from this band, that is just part of the reason why I'm posting this article. There is another much more interesting reason. Over the last few weeks, I've taken to YouTube to find live footage of bands I love or just happen to enjoy. I've located great footage of Natalie Merchant and some not so great recordings of Stereolab and Peter Murphy.

But this video of an Interpol concert produced by the BBC, is fantastic in every respect. Taken in 2014 at sunset in Glasgow, Scotland, the video captures the mood of the sunset and the concert together. The golden sunlight, the shadows, the textures, the music, it all comes out in striking relief.

The band dresses smartly, plays with dignity and as one would hope, in tune with their original work. In fact, I think it would be hard to distinguish between a track on their LP and the same song played at that concert. They are very accurate in reproducing their studio work, so there doesn't seem to be that much improvisation of their music.

I was very impressed with their renditions, and found a new song I liked that I don't have yet, "Not Even Jail" (starting at 12:32 in the video). I enjoyed the bass beat, the match of the melodies with the impending twilight and the rhythms of the drums. I especially enjoyed the introduction of the song as Banks adjusts the distortion on his guitar. The expression on his face is serious, but we also see that he's enjoying himself with the rest of the band.

To me, that song has all the classic elements I look for in music as a New Wave song, even if Interpol has been described as "Post-Punk". I had "Not Even Jail" running through my head yesterday and found it particularly enjoyable to watch again as the video has times and songs listed below so you can jump to wherever you want to start. I suggest watching from start to finish the first time if you have 49 minutes to spare.

I don't know if this is your cup of tea, but I hope you have a chance to catch the video and see for yourself if it is. You might find it a worthy discovery to save for future enjoyment.
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