Interpol - El Pintor

NYC post-goth now-trio Interpol announced their “comeback” album, El Pintor, at the beginning of this summer. They’ve already premiered a couple really good new songs, “All The Rage Back Home” and “Ancient Ways, “and today, they unveil the rest. El Pintor is streaming in full over at NPR — give it a listen and let us know in the comments here what ya think.

El Pintor is out 9/9 via Matador.

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Comments (77)
  1. “post-goth” ? I can honestly say I never thought about them in those terms. I’m not arguing against it, mind you. I’m just not entirely sure that designation fits.

    • “post-punk/neo-goth”?

      • Bingo. But now that I re-read my intial post I feel like a pissy little bitch boy. I’m constantly railing against the ridonkulous amount of indie sub genres and here I am taking exception to “post-goth”. What a maroon I am.

        Thanks for throwing me a bone. I didn’t deserve it……LOL

        • Haha, not at all! If we’re not here to argue about stuff like the distinction between post-goth and post-punk/neo-goth, then exactly why the hell are we here?

        • It might have taken issue with the term ‘memory-core’ (or something like that) with Michael before.

    • Ha my thoughts exactly. We really understand each other, don’t we?

      • It looks as if that is certainly the case. I like to add “post” to any genre I’m listening to…if only to anger everyone I work with who love calling me “hipster” Example to follow:

        “whatcha listening to?”

        “It’s a post-modern neo-dubstep electronic avant-folk thing. Kinda boring, really”

        It’s shit like this that makes everybody hate me.

  2. After a few spins – I like the energy, but the dynamic melody changes that made TOTBL, Antics and 2/3 of OLTA are still missing, which makes sense, because those parts (really, the best parts) I always attributed to Carlos D’s crazy-ass bass lines.

    Better than the self-titled album, and with some interesting sonic textures, but not up there with Interpol’s best. A bit of a shame, because I really like “All the Rage Back Home” and got my hopes up a little more than I initially would have.

    • Daniel Kessler wrote 90% of Carlos D’s bass lines (including “Evil”), so that argument is kind of moot. There ‘s some really good bass on this album, better than S/T where Carlos was playing bass, for sure.

      • Was he playing the bass on the self-titled? I guess I assumed otherwise.

        The point being that I like El Pintor but nothing (other than “All the Rage…”) has really grabbed me the way their first two (and 2/3) albums did. There’s still time for that to happen though.

  3. better than OLTA?

    • Arguably, yes. It’s more consistent, there are no filler songs, but it doesn’t have “Pioneer to the Falls” on it.

      • This is what I’m hearing from Erica OK “This is not TOTBL. This is not Antics. But this is a move in the right direction”

        Which is heartening. Man we all love Interpol, don’t we?

      • Or a “Lighthouse”

        Sure, OLTA was hit and miss, the hits were enough to keep me believing. I actually enjoyed self-titled more than the average commenter here. I really liked the Trilogy of songs that closed down the album, and I think we’ve all come to find that “Lights” is a pretty great song.

        As with most Interpol albums, I need to give it more time. I will give it more time, because I love Interpol oh so much. But unfortunately I feel this album is also hit and miss. So far, the hits aren’t hitting hard enough for me to get super amped about it.

        But don’t get it twisted, I pre-ordered this album and am seeing them live next month. I’m an unwavering Interpol fan. Which means at this point I’m pretty used to underwhelming albums from them.

      • OK Erica OK, I haven’t listened yet but I’ll hold you to that

  4. Jotted down some thoughts for each track for my first listen:

    “All The Rage Back Home” — Gets me super amped, but that fade out kills my vibe.

    “My Desire” — Cool guitar work, but feels limp coming off “All The Rage Back Home”

    “Anywhere” — Liking this one more than “My Desire”, love the sudden ending, just how Interpol songs should end.

    “Same Town, New Story” — OH! This one caught me off guard. Paul’s stacked vocals, Daniel’s guitar, Sam’s drums on the breakdown. Favorite song so far. Feels like classic Interpol.

    “My Blue Supreme” — Song about a car? Fun start/stop moments, but doesn’t do much for me overall.

    “Everything Is Wrong” — Starting to lose me with this track. To think “Not Even Jail” came six songs in on Antics.

    “Breaker 1″ — “come back come back” haha, appropriate lyrics for my drifting attention. This sounds good, I’m back with ya Interpol! Not bad! Add this one to my favorites list. Radio chatter in the background at the end? Reminds me of when they did that on “Length of Love”

    “Ancient Ways” — Shortest song on the album and wastes no time. I really like Sam’s drumming here.

    “Tidal Wave” — PENULTIMATE! Alright! Got the drums, guitar and bass all in full focus off the bat. Slappa dat bass Paul! Not sure about this hook… I miss when Interpol didn’t sing their song names. Well they brought it in the end. Mixed feelings on this one.

    “Twice as Hard” — Interpol have a great record with closing tracks. This one has a promising intro. Ugh, again, singing the song names repeatedly. Interpol used to be subtle. Well, this is officially my least favorite Interpol closing track. Oh god another fade out?!?! Get the fuck outta here.

    Whelp. Another Interpol album, another disapointment. As a long time fan, I’ll still buy it and play it and convince myself I love it. Then I’ll forget about it a year later like I did with self-titled.

    Oh well! It’s an excuse to see them live. That’s my silver lining.

    • I live for hearing you bitch about fade outs. I wake up every day thinking “I sure hope RJ hears a new cut today that has a fade out. If only to hear the rage against said fade out”

      • It’s why I don’t care for The Police.

        • I understand what you are saying but I wo
          uld
          like
          to
          point…….

          (cut to fade out)

          • It’s just, how do you perform a fade out live?! That’s my main beef. When they play it live, the sound guy isn’t going to fade them out, they’ll just abruptly stop playing it.

            I don’t hate ALL fade outs. Sometimes they’re deserving. The fade out at the end of “only tomorrow” from mbv’s new one is a perfect example. Hell, “Not Even Jail” is a perfect example. Sometimes, there is no other way but to end a song with a fade out. It’s rare, but some songs earn it (It’s usually the ones that are already kind of long but have this riff that should never end, so by fading it out, it kind of never does).

            Otherwise, “end the fucking song” ~Gang of Four (not a real quote, but damn, those four guys know how to end a song)

          • Women — “Eyesore” is another example of a necessary fade out.

          • I guess I’d better rethink the proposed new name for my neo-goth post-punk band.

            “RJ’s Dreaded Fade Out” had such a nice ring to it.

            Kidding aside….I hate a fade out too. I’m streaming this thing now and I like it. The first three songs are a killer little set. Although I must admit I’m not to be trusted regarding this band. They could fart in a cup and I’d find something I love about it. I kid you not…I used to own two 1975 Mercedes Benz 300D diesels. One was murdered out black. The only color on the entire car was a large INTERPOL sticker on the back window. The other one was white and had a custom made ANTICS sticker on the back window. Nobody in the backwater town I live in had any idea what either of those meant. But it made me deliriously happy. The black one was my main ride for about 5 years. All Blaupunkt sound system . 4″ speakers in the dash,
            6″ in all 4 doors, 6″ x 9″ behind back seat. 15″ bass in trunk with 2 each 8″ subs right next to it.
            1500 amp as well. I miss that old beat up car so much. Loudest system I’ve ever owned. I used to drive around this redneck town BLASTING things like The Prodigy, Chemical Brothers,
            Interpol, Ministry, etc……Gawd I was obnoxious.

          • Christ! 15″ subbies and 6×9″s. fuuuuuuck.

            Ace job on the color coordination.

            I feel like people think I’m hating. It’s just my initial reaction to a first listen. I’d also pay $40 for the deluxe edition of Interpol’s Boxed Farts. I feel like I’m one of many super huge Interpol fans that comment on this site. Anybody who got to hear Interpol when it was just TOTBL & Antics really had little to no choice but to be super fans between those two masterpieces.

            Oh well, I’m having fun down here bitching about fade outs with blochead :)

          • You can perform a fade out live. Start playing quieter and hitting things so hard, instruments stop one at a time and the board operator helps quite a bit.

            I have quite the opposite feeling as you; abrupt stops to songs often leave me with a jarred, tense feeling. Like I’ve been taken out of the mood and flow of the music. That being said, there is an art to a good fadeout, and a lot of them are done badly. You’ll get no argument from me on that.

    • funny, ‘Everything Is Wrong’ was kind of ear catching for me. At least it started out that way. The chorus kinda has the same dynamic as everything else though.

  5. At FYF I saw a good chunk of Interpols set (before being absolutely blown away by Boris’ set) and I have to say that it was pretty underwhelming. They played most of my favorite songs from their first two albums which was pretty cool but It just didn’t feel right to me. That’s kind of how I feel about El Pintor. Theres everything I love about Interpol right there yet its lacking something so crucial to what made them great. Not to be to harsh but I feel Interpol lost their consistency long ago, I’ll look to Spoon for that. Turn On The Bright Lights will remain one of my all time favorite albums for all of time though that album is just gold

  6. Three songs in, I’m liking it a lot! I hope there are some slower moodier songs (a la leif erikson, NYC, etc.)

  7. i don’t know man… sounds like last self titled album where great hooks were lost between weak fills and overall they become slower and sadder but no darker. Can’t say I like it. I think they can’t repeat their phenomena too.

    • Ok. I’m two listens in. I am prepared to render my verdict. Cuz I know how much all of you give a shit about
      my stupid opinion.

      I like it alot. I’m calling it 3rd best in the canon. It’s better than the self titled. At least as good as OLTA. It has my attention. And that’s gotta count for sumpin’ sumpin’

  8. Okay, first time through:
    I liked it, more than the last record, definitely enough there to draw me back for repeated listens, some good stuff to soak up.
    My complaints: Needs more dynamics. I feel like all their choruses have the same feel and level of loudness, everything going on, minimal melody. In fact it’s missing a lot melody that was present in better releases. But I’m still loving the Guitars and Percussion. Great Interpol work there.

    • agree on all counts

    • I agree with you on the dynamics. Tons of clipping on this and an overall mediocre mastering. I enjoy the album otherwise, but it really makes me wonder how songs like Anywhere and Ancient Ways would sound with a better mastering job.

  9. Now that I’ve posted 1,327,549 times on this thread……..here’s one more.

    Let’s be honest with ourselves. I really love Interpol but THAT SOUND has no room to breathe or grow. Everything has to sound like TOTBL and Antics. This band is dictated by that sound and they have to try and move around within the little box that sound can live in. You can hear them trying to sound like the early stuff on this new one. It’s why Paul has to do solo projects. The demands for Interpol to be INTERPOL must be exhausing (not unlike being a nihilist. You Little Achievers know what I’m talking about)

    Does any other band that matters still sound almost exactly like they did over 10 years ago? Even narrow bandwidth contemporaries like The Killers and Bloc Part have modified their sound over the years. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like those bands became ultra dynamic bands and now put out bluegrass…but you get my point. Only Interpol is saddled with this load.

    I guess what I’m saying is they get a lifetime thumbs up from me. Cuz at the end of the day there is no band fucking cooler than them. The look, the name, the sound. Cooler than the other side of the pillow

    • I agree with you totally, except there’s no point in being cool and having a great sound if you’re not putting it to use in great tunes, and the actual songs on the earlier albums were better. That said, I’m still digging El Pintor, I just think they can do and have done more.

  10. Track 2, My Desire, is my current favourite.

  11. I can’t wait to listen to this in my car.

  12. As I listen to this and get myself all worked up like a 8 year old I can’t help but wonder…………

    If I’m this excited about Interpol (a band I like ALOT) what the fuck is going to happen to me when a new Wrens album comes out (a band I WORSHIP) ??????????????????

    I fully expect my head to pop off and furrry woodland creatures to jump out.

  13. So I’m not very far in, but from the first two tracks I am getting a vibe that is pretty similar to OLTA and s/t.

    See, here’s my little theory about Interpol. They have a very distinct sound (as blochead pointed out), which has to do partially with the production, but also the style, which is angular, dark guitar riffs, and icy sad/dark Paul Banks vocals. When Interpol songs succeed is when they are able to A: break out of their dark icy feel. They did that a lot on TOTBL (Untitled, NYC, The New, Leif Erikson, the euphoric break of the chorus to PDA and then the incredible outro, etc.), and also quite a bit on antics (Not Even Jail, which is maybe their best song, Next Exit, Take You On A Cruise, etc.), or B: do that feel, but have the good songs/hooks to back it up, (Obstacle 1, Stella, Say Hello To The Angels, Slow Hands, Evil, etc.).

    Later albums have been less good because they simply succumb to that dark icy feel without having the good songwriting, and thus the songs are less memorable. Sure, they sometimes break out of that dark feel (Pioneer To The Falls, The Undoing, various others), or they nail the icy feel (Lights, Heinrich Maneuver), but too often it is just dark and icy with nothing to make it memorable. You get songs like The Scale, or, even worse, No I in Threesome, which are just unmemorable and uninteresting.

    Maybe El Pintor needs time to expand for me, I may love it later, and All The Rage Back Home is great, but many of the other two songs I have heard (the second and third ones) just feel pretty stale and unmemorable. I may change my mind, but that is my vibe thus far.

    • For me, I’d say you it has less to do with ‘dark and icy’ (I would consider The New and Leif Erikson both very dark and icy), but as you mentioned, a lot do with the songwriting, in particular the variety in their songwriting which seems lately to have been limited more than it needs to be.

      • Yes they are dark and icy, but they are less jagged, they are dark, but still they have a softer edge that brings them away from other fine songs like Obstacle 2.

        But yes I think you are correct in saying that the songwriting is the key. Sometimes they just don’t write good enough hooks, and that is the problem with their last few albums. I don’t think either OLTA or their s/t were as bad as some publications (looking at you, Pitchfork), but they were very hit or miss, where the hits were great, but the misses equally terrible. Antics and TOTBLA were entirely hit and no miss.

    • I’ll happily live in a world where “Not Even Jail” is considered Interpol’s best song. We could argue for days, but I think 5 seconds into hearing that track for the first time is what triggered my infinite Interpol fandom.

      • Agree with you on this. If I could go back to the moment when I heard Not Even Jail for the first time…

        • I was a freshman in college waiting overnight for hockey season tickets and listening to it lying on my back in a gym at 5am in my discman on zero sleep. SO PERFECT. Those Antics guitar lines still bring me back, especially Take You On A Cruise.

      • Yeah it switches between that one and PDA. Both of them are perfect, and are masterpieces. I remember listening through Antics and thinking that with a title like ‘Not Even Jail’ it could be one of their less good songs, and anticipating a minor entry into their catalog, and then being blown away by that bassline. Oh my god I miss Carlos D.

        But PDA could also easily hold that title. Incredible song.

    • Yep. I mentioned it above but you expounded – it’s really the “break out moments” of the songs or the hooks that seem to be missing from the s/t and El Pintor. Most of the songs seem like they’re alllmost there, but then never find that aha moment like the hook from “Take You on a Cruise” or the climax of “PDA” (which, if you think about it, is really an ok song with a great ending).

      • I don’t know, all of PDA is pretty amazing. The dark driving verse that breaks into that (for lack of a better word) happy chorus (the 200 couches part) is one of the best moments of their discography. Couple that with the climax, and it is a serious contender for best Interpol song. It would have to fight it out with Not Even Jail.

      • Personally there’s not an Interpol moment I like more than that little bass twitch on ‘Specialist’.Yknow where it goes ‘dundidi dundidi’.

  14. The more I listen to it the more I convince myself I love it. All I need to do is not put TOTBL or Antics on anytime soon. Cuz I’m sure if I do that my little cocoon of hope will burst and I will be sad. I love Paul’s vocals on this. And I think the basslines are snakey and groovey. Sam sounds great on the kid.

    I’m hoping if I pimp it hard enough one of the band members will come onto Stereogum and demand my presence at their next San Francisco area gig.

    Pretty sweet plan, right?

  15. *kit. Weird weird typo above. Sorry Sam.

  16. This way exceeded my expectations, can’t wait to listen to it again already! I’ve got more time than most folks for their last couple of albums, but even so this is clearly their best since Antics.

  17. I think Sam’s drumming is stellar on this. The more I thought about my earlier post the more I started realizing I was casting too wide a net. What are the odds of ONE of the guys from Interpol seeing my earlier posts and demanding my presence at their next Bay Area show?

    But If I focus on JUST THE DRUMMER perhaps that’ll really catch his eye. You know, kind of a “shiny object” theory. And of course everybody is going to talk about the guitars and/or the vocals, right? But not me. Not ol’ Blochead. I’m all about Sam and the drum kit. WHICH IS AWESOME. Now as awesome Sam’s drumming is on this (and it’s awe inspiring) it pales in comparison to the piece he did with Vanessa Bayer for her Janessa Slater gig. He was beyond marvelous in that.

    So….anyway…….Interpol….Bay Area….Sam……Backstage tix……

    Yup that ’bout covers it.

  18. This album rules. Now, I’m one to get AMPED AS FUX on albums first listen, but I think for this one I can honestly say better than yeezus, but maybe not pet sounds (unsure – so far…).

    FYI – Rolling Stones Dirty Work is my #1 (and everybody’s).

    • That made me laugh. On a side note….(tossed in at the end of a tired Interpol thread. This should get TONS of play…….)

      Am I the only one that thinks “Fool To Cry” by the Stones is the single most overlooked song in their vast canon?

  19. 3 listens in. I feel it’s a little front-loaded; after the 3 songs I already knew and sort of loved, nothing really floors me… except for Breaker 1. The vocal track on that one is just eerie, and the way the song comes back even stronger when it already seemed to end hit me in a Not Even Jail kind of way. The rest of the songs are solid, but a bit repetitive and hookless to my taste, but maybe I’ll grow on 1 or 2 of them. My Blue Supreme’s got potential.

    But anyway, this is much better than the last one, and I think we all thank them for it. It might not be Antics, but it’s got spirit, energy, some outstanding moments, and one of the best songs they’ve written (“My Desire”). Enough for me to be happy.

  20. Guys, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this thread. I’m a huge fan of the band with a beyond measurable admiration for TOTBL, Antics and OLTA. I felt that minus ‘Lights’ and ‘Memory Serves’ the s/t album was totally flat; it had none of the Interpol-esque excitement that they are famed for. I totally out this down to the riff that Carlos caused between them; he recorded the s/t album with them before leaving so his heart was clearly not in it.

    El Pintor, to me, is class. It literally leaks class, the three introductory songs are classic Interpol (which you have to bear in mind must have been tough for them because they’ve gone from a four-piece to a three-piece). My favourite track, without a shadow of a doubt, is Breaker 1. It’s absolutely fucking epic, with it’s trashing opening riff and Paul’s raw, blood-pumping vocals.

    I’ve listened to El Pintor a lot on NPR now and I have to say I am suprised at just how good it sounds. Of course, I’m still expecting hipster-proud Pitchfork to slate it (the gave Yeezus a 9 for fuck sake!) but that means nothing to me; I’m just glad that one of New York’s best bands has found their form again!

  21. So far listening to this, El Pintor is the album OLTA should have been. Their most cohesive since Antics at lease. I think too the reason why people aren’t immediately loving this it’s definitely gonna take a little time to grow. It didn’t immediately hit me but the more I listen to it, the more I’m enjoying it.

  22. I reckon Pitchfork will go for something like a 6.2. But their rating system is the most biased, trend-monkey system out there! It’s slightly paradoxical thought because I do rely on them for a lot of music lol

    • Jordan….I couldn’t agree more. I use Pitchfork reviews like I use Rotten Tomatoes overall critical reviews.
      Anything on Pitchfork that gets under a 4.0 I assume is probably crap. And anything over 8.0 I assume is something I should probably check out. But since about 90% of their reviews fall between those two numbers I tend to have to use other methods to decide the quality of those records.

      Believe it or not I use the opinions of the staff and posters on this site to determine most of my buying.

  23. I think this is proberbly the best album interpol has ever made, the album is full of surprise riffs and unexpected and subtle sounds. Every interpol album has something different to offer but this has got to be masterpiece , Paul banks vocals are varied unlike on other albums . The falsetto and the change in pitch and tone shows a singer who thinks about his delivery rather than just pumping out the words.

    My top interpol tracks were leif ericson , Roland ,c,mere,pace is the trick , summer well , PDA ,no I in a threesome,pioneer to the falls, not even jail.

    And on the el pintor album everything is wrong with it opening guitar from the sex pistols riff, my desire, same time new story,

    Everything is wrong …but everything is right with elpintor

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