Popular wisdom says that Interpol are a bunch of Joy Division copyists. Popular wisdom is wrong. If we're talking influences, yes, Joy Division are there - but so are Echo and the Bunnymen, the Chameleons, Teardrop Explodes, Bauhaus and perhaps most neglected of all Magazine. These guys know their New Wave. But they haven't given us a preserved tribute - they've taken the bleak, bracing vision, the wordy and intelligent lyrics and the fusion of electronics and conventional instruments in a distinctive direction themselves. Everything has been assimilated, processed, filtered through a distinctive attitude - and the result is as fresh and compelling an album as I've heard this year. Interpol conjure vast space inside their music, marrying epic guitar to rigorous, almost stifling percussion and keyboards. In the dramatic space between these, twisted lyrics have room to slide into your head.
This is powerful stuff. Occasionally, yes, I'll admit it, I find myself thinking that the ghosts of Martin Hannett and Ian Curtis must've been somewhere near the studio, but think of this as a beginning - a jumping-off point from whence Interpol will start producing music of unprecedented subtlety and power.
Low spots.... none.
High spots... "Obstacle 2" followed immediately by "Stella Was A Diver and She Was Always Down". If ever an album had a perceptible heart of darkness, these two tracks constitute one.
Remarkable, addictive, shiny, deadly, and unmissable.