Interpol returns as a trio on ‘El Pintor’

What you expect from El Pintor is exactly what you expect from every Interpol album. It’s dark . . . it’s moody . . . rich baritone vocals . . . the requisite atmospheric music . . . emo lyrics . . . crackling Goth guitar . . . but it is still an Interpol album. Meaning that if you’re an Interpol fan you will be taken on another musical/love can be dismal journey provided by the New York-based indie rock trio (their former bassist Carlos Dengler left the band in 2010). For the non die-hards you may take it or leave it but overall, El Pintor is another example of Interpol’s wonderful way of mixing glum with glam, making their melancholy music sound so wonderfully sweet.

Interpol has never nor will it ever be a band that will grab everybody’s attention. Interpol is an acquired taste but it is a band that grabs you emotionally. You don’t listen to Interpol to rock out; you listen to Interpol to reflect. El Pintor, while it’s your standard Interpol album, sucks you into the band’s world of malaise once again but they always, subtlety, add just a dose of light at the end of the tunnel. The production is a bit of a return to form, unlike their previous album Interpol, which was much more polished and arguably, a better album. Still, El Pintor (Spanish for the painter) will remind the indie masses why they fell in love with this band upon its 2002 release of its startling debut album Turn on the Bright Lights.

“All the Rage Back Home” is another one of lead vocalist/bassist Paul Banks bleak-ridden tracks but the first single and opening number is a full on rock tune with a thunderous chorus. Musically it’s not an expectation of things to come on El Pintor but it does fit in well with the rest of the album’s “love going sour grapes” tracks. “My Desire” is a strong companion to the opening track, keeping expectations that this is typical Interpol but in stylish fashion. That plus the roaring “Anywhere” are really the standouts on El Pintor in which Interpol bring out their best musically in each song. And “Everything Is Wrong” will hit you into feeling both lost and downtrodden yet also leave you feeling high, melodically.

El Pintor draws a lot from the band’s earlier outings so there’s nothing groundbreaking here. As with all Interpol albums, the tracks are not consistently solid and perhaps that and Banks’ bleak signature songwriting is part of the charm of the band. El Pintor is not the best Interpol album but it’s just as good as any of their previous albums. Interpol fans will welcome the return of the old Interpol back to its roots.


Author: Rob Perez

Rob Perez is a freelance writer who has been with The Music Universe early on. As a Correspondent for The Music Universe, you will find him writing reviews and live tweeting awards shows.