Interpol - Antics

Tim Miller 27/09/2004

Rating: 3/5

Overlooked to the point of the inexplicable, Interpol's first offering 'Turn on the Bright Lights' was a sound debut album, original and inventive, interesting and beautiful. One of the most looked forward to albums this year, at least by those in the know, the follow up 'Antics' has had a huge weight of expectation on its shoulders. Though difficult to better 'Turn…' fans were hopeful of a similar standard, to announce Interpol to the wider world as an essential band to be 'in' with.
Sadly, 'Antics' just doesn't quite deliver. Beginning with a subdued church organ introduction to 'Next Exit', the build up, the layering of sound upon sound that Interpol did so well on their first LP, kicks in to the opening track here, giving this LP a decent start indeed.

Followed by 'Evil', the restrained start to the album continues. A song that only really gets going after the first chorus, which is nonetheless a pretty good one; the song leaves the album still waiting to begin properly. 'Narc' goes some way to doing this, an atmospheric and melodic four-to-the-floorer, with a brilliant chorus conveying an emotion best described as wistful. Be that as it may, however, the opening 3 tracks have not made a particularly resounding impact.

'Take You on A Cruise' takes the subdued mood further, but is justified in doing so with a powerful, poignant chorus, leading to the end of the song quicker than the listener expects, and wants. This song is the sort of elevator music God might play for those on the way up to heaven.
At last!!! Pace! 'Slow Hands' brings to the album the same disco elements that artists like Franz Ferdinand have championed recently. An infectious song for Interpol, though catchy in its upbeat style rather than sticking, tumour-like, into your brain from the broodiness that exudes from others.

Two in a row? Astonishing. 'Not Even Jail' continues the change of mood, with an almost Motown feel to it. Its major chords and wry lyrics make 'Not Even Jail' a rare thing: an Interpol song to make you smile. Though you'll struggle to recall it after it's finished, being as it is strangely anonymous.
Despite the return to form lyrically with 'Not Even Jail', 'Public Pervert' is a rather lacklustre effort, not helped by an equally tame musical accompaniment. The guitars feature prominently but only add to an out of character lack of direction that this song conveys. 'C'Mere', by frustrating contrast, is definitely a high point, a heartfelt song that seems to be the sound of an accomplished act.

As 'Length of Love' begins, an overwhelming sense of the simplistic and the tried and tested bubbles darkly under the surface. Give this song time, though, as it leads into a clever chorus which, backed up by nice production work, helps lift this song into being another high point of the album. It's lucky, perhaps, that the album finishes with the following 'A Time to Be Small'. Despite it being a good end to the LP and another miserable Interpol special, any more would just be pushing their luck.

It's unfortunate that an album of which so much was expected can be so inconsistent. Undoubtedly there are huge peaks, 'Length of Love' and 'Take You on a Cruise' especially. But there are also major deficiencies in the lyrics department, and the low points arise, as it were, when these meet a dull musical arrangement, such as 'Public Pervert'. Though the CD ends on a high, this is an album to play on random mode, or the predictability of it all will soon condemn the CD to a dusty space on the 'occasional' rack.