INTERPOL Turn On The Bright Lights (Matador)

So, I’m all set to reproach Interpol for their wholesale appropriation of raincoat-wearing British post-punk (Joy Division and Echo & The Bunnymen, mainly, with perhaps a soupcon of Gang Of Four in there as well) before it occurs to me that Editors have practically ripped their act wholesale from Interpol.

Their “classic debut” (it must be true, would the cover sticker lie?) isn’t what you’d call an ingratiating album. Even in 180 gram audiophile vinyl form it’s a chilly listen, keeping the audience at arm’s length. Factor in Paul Bank’s frequently hysterical robot opera vocals and some terse song titles (“Untitled”, “Obstacle 1”, “NYC”, “PDA”) and you’re not exactly in for a riotous knees-up.

The bouncy “PDA” is reminiscent of Joy Division circa “Transmission”, and “Roland”’s frenetic urban paranoia is not unaware of that band’s “Interzone”. Yet the album’s not without a certain abrasive charm: the glacial flow of “NYC” is one of the album’s better moments and there’s a corrosive wit at work on “Obstacle 2”. Even so, as with Franz Ferdinand’s debut, it you’re old enough to remember post-punk first time around, or are at least familiar with relics from that era, there’s nothing to hear here. Kudos to Matador, though, for yet again bundling an MP3 download with their vinyl pressing.