Ragged edges and racing beats
Four years after the release of El Pintor, Interpol is back with Marauder. Unlike most artists that would take the opportunity to lyrically explore the political and social changes that evolved during that time, the band is putting forth a personal album. Even so, Interpol branched out from their habits and recruited producer Dave Fridmann (Mercury Rev, The Flaming Lips) to produce the album. Despite bringing in an outside, renowned producer, Marauder isn’t overly produced. The record is rough around the edges in all the best ways and more sonically upbeat than the band’s past works.
Kicking off the album is “If You Really Love Nothing.” A repeated guitar riff sets the scene for singer (and now bassist since founding member Carlos Dengler’s exit in 2010) Paul Banks’ gentle vocals to jump in. During the chorus, pounding drums take over, and Banks’ vocals quickly overflow with angst. Lead single “The Rover” is drum-driven and slightly monotonous at first listen. Although not necessarily a standout on the album, the song becomes infectious after a few listens—with more subtle complexities revealing themselves.
“Complications” is guitar-heavy and an entertaining listen, but doesn’t ever seem to pick up. “Flight of Fancy” stands out, pairing a hopeful beat with Banks’ eerie vocals—sounding the most like early Interpol. The track is also lyrically one of the strongest with Banks singing “This was made for me / This is make believe / Like slight of hand / And a custom vagrancy of mind” in the chorus. The thrashing instrumentals with the hard-to-hear vocals give the track a shoegaze element. This can also be heard on tracks like “Stay in Touch” as fuzzy guitar dominates and Banks’ vocals are somber and diluted. “Surveillance” has Banks’ vocals lost a little amongst the clouds of heavy, impressive drumming.
Catchy and almost pop-like tracks include “Mountain Child.” The tune starts off with a mellow vibe then picks up with a catchy, upbeat tune. “NYSMAW” also shows off a poppy side to the band with a fast-paced beat and electronic undertone.
The tenth track (appropriately titled “Number 10”) has Banks’ vocals intertwined and dancing perfectly with the energetic drums in the chorus. The track was originally meant to be a B-side, but while haphazardly, playfully throwing it together, it all came together effortlessly. The band ultimately released it as a single for the album—definitely the right choice as the track is one of the best on the album. “Number 10” is the most successful taste of the garage, jammy quality that Interpol plays with on Marauder.
The album closes with the haunting “It Probably Matters.” The track has a nostalgic feeling to it as Banks painfully croons “I didn’t have the grace or the brains / Yeah, it probably matters.” Banks hangs on every word, forcing the listener to feel his despair, and the track closes out the album with a haunting, drum-forward finale as Banks’ voice echoes in the background.
While most fans will agree that the album does not compare to the range and intricacies put forward on some of Interpol’s earlier works, Marauder is undoubtedly a fun and exciting listen.