Tuesday, July 19, 2022

On the Other Side of Lockdown, Interpol Brings Us ‘The Other Side of Make-Believe’

New York indie rock band Interpol, have given us their highly anticipated next studio album, ‘The Other Side of Make-Believe’. The band’s debut release ‘Turn On the Bright Lights’ received critical acclaim back in 2002 whilst landing in 10th on NME’s list of top releases for that year. 

As their seventh album to date produced with Matador Records during their 25-year-long career, ‘The Other Side of Make-Believe’ certainly stands out from the rest.

Frontman Paul Banks’ lyricism in ‘Toni’, the album’s lead single, is particularly illustrative of this distinction. Lyrics like “I’d like to see them win / I like the inspiration like it’s going in the right direction” serves as a hopeful beginning to an album which presents a new and fresh level of positivity. When Banks sings, “Still in shape, my methods refined”, it is hard not to take this as a reference to Interpol as a band who appear to have evolved.    

This album exudes emotion. Melodic riffs from guitarist Daniel Kessler further develop its intimacy, and drummer Sam Fogarino’s innovative rhythms shine through, particularly on the track ‘Mr. Credit’. As a result, ‘The Other Side of Make-Believe’ takes on an anthemic quality which only adds to its optimism. Both Kessler and Fogarino use their talent to add feeling and rawness at the perfect moments.   

Interpol has never shied away from vulnerability and darker themes in their music before—human nature and the harm our society can inflict have been central to their work. This is certainly still present with tracks such as ‘Passenger’. The track repeats the lyric “Save me, I’m in my head” in a touching crescendo which evokes images of phone torches waving slowly from side to side. 

The band has balanced their more dismal tendencies with a more hopeful side. Perhaps this came to a head during the album’s production, which took place during the pandemic. As the result of a time of reflection where the world slowed down, an introspective mindset runs throughout ‘The Other Side of Make-Believe’. Rather than sadness, which you may think would have translated perfectly during the pandemic, Banks turned in the opposite direction towards resilience and finding joy in order to combat the struggles of real life. A poignant message in ‘Gran Hotel’ seems to be to treat yourself and others with kindness—“All we’ve got to be is candid and gentle”

It will certainly be intriguing to see where Interpol will take their music next—whether their new release will stand alone or if deviating from their trusted patterns will produce more surprises in the future.    


Maebh Springbett


Image: ‘The Other Side of Make-Believe’ Official Album Cover


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