On their 2002 debut, Turn On The Bright Lights, Interpol proved that their uncanny resemblance to the heavy-hearted post-punk guitar groups of the early Eighties was both a blessing and a curse. On its follow-up, the New York quartet moves forward. Continuous touring has clearly improved each member's chops: Antics is a far more refined and finessed record than its predecessor. More remarkable is the well-dressed foursome's improved songwriting. Whereas Bright Lights made its mark with bleak moods and Paul Banks' vocal anguish, Antics achieves a tunefulness that warms and broadens Interpol's music, and helps them establish an identity distinct from their dolorous influences. On "Evil," the guitars pulsate, pause as if for breath and then surge as the melody soars and Banks offers hard-won optimism: "It took a life span with no cellmate/The long way back/Sandy, why can't we look the other way?" What was once forced for Interpol now comes naturally: Antics chooses light over darkness without denying gray areas between.
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