Friday night in Northampton, Massachusetts, Interpol found themselves back in the kind of college club where they launched their careers. At Pearl Street, a venue with wood-boarded floors, tall Victorian-style windows covered with sheets and makeshift bleachers tucked into one corner of the room, the New York rockers kicked off their summer tour, a string of dates leading up to the September 7th release of their fourth, self-titled album.
Decked out in their traditional funereal color palate ranging from black to gray, the band let loose a long, guitar-static rumble before bursting into “Success,” the first track off the new album and perhaps a tongue-in-cheek nod to Interpol’s recent label and lineup shifts. (Founding bassist Carlos D left the group after the recording of the new album; Dave Pajo and Secret Machines’ Brandon Curtis were added to Interpol’s current touring roster.) “Success” bounds off a darting bassline and a spare riff, but grows into a fantastic mess of gothy keyboards before cutting off suddenly with frontman Paul Banks’ vocal, “I’m not supposed to …”
Banks seemed calm and focused, as if he wanted to make sure the night’s proceedings went smoothly. On “Evil” and new track “Summer Well” — two of the show’s deepest grooves — the quintet sounded crisp, clear, and seamless, with the rhythm section creating a danceable platform beneath Banks’ sharp monotone. Banks didn’t disclose his own satisfaction until shyly cracking a grin during “Narc.” Possibly picking up on this, an audience member screamed, “You guys sound good!” to which Banks smiled and replied, “Hey, thank you!”
Apart from fan favorites “PDA” and “Slow Hands,” the true standout was new single “Lights,” which rumbled with a dark, menacing vibe, driven by Sam Fogarino’s incredible, syncopated drumming. Creeping forward on three ascending chords, the track built without a traditional verse-chorus-verse structure until the room was filled with grimy atmosphere.
“Say Hello to the Angels”
“Take You on a Cruise”
“Not Even Jail”