Noise 101 – CD Reviews for Sept. 23
It has been three years since the last Interpol record was released and in that time fans have waited with bated breath in anticipation for a new album, one that prom- ised to go back to basics. For admirers of Interpol’s initial flavour, as characterized by 2002’s Turn on the Bright Lights and perfected on 2004’s Antics, the possibility of returning to that atmospheric yet edgy post-punk sound can elicit euphoria.
Unfortunately, Interpol’s most recent self-titled release falls short of such high expectations. There is one thing that the band succeeds at, however, and that is remaining relatively consistent. Interpol presents a more subdued version of the familiar Interpol repertoire, remaining predominantly slow tempo and smooth in tone.
Paul Banks’ haunting and moody vocals linger over low rumbling guitars, which seem to have stepped aside to usher in a preference for piano. The album has the ability to blend so flawlessly together that it almost transforms into mere background noise — which isn’t necessarily a bad thing — but the catchy hooks and riffs that comprised the band’s earlier material are nowhere to be heard.
The first single, “Lights,” is indeed one of the album’s highlights and one of the more upbeat and familiar- sounding tracks. The clos- ing song, “The Undoing,” is perhaps the most surprising endeavour, incorporating Spanish lyrics. Perhaps it foreshadows Interpol’s mu- sical future and progressing sound as “The Lighthouse” clearly did on 2007’s Our Love to Admire.
— Gabrielle Domanski
First things first: where the hell is the Eddie we’ve grown to love on this mutha? I see a mutant zombie- esque green creature in outer space, but not the hatchet- wielding-Margaret-Thatcher- murdering ghoul that graced
the British septet’s first fourteen albums. However, this futureesque streamlined Eddie fits, as Iron Maiden’s tunes have grown and changed alongside their mascot.
Make no mistake: they remain the same hugely influential band, melding galloping guitars and thun- derous percussion with the massive caterwaul of Bruce Dickinson. But on The Final Frontier they’ve tweaked and added several elements: firstly, the album opens with tribal percussion and fuzzy chords. Never has the band opened with such dissonance, and I have yet to decide whether that’s a good thing. The lyrics have become increasingly introspective as the aging band grapples with the mortality themes that have become more prevalent since 2003’s Dance of Death.
The album is the longest of any Iron Maiden output, yet unlike its predecessor (A Matter of Life and Death), it does not become a meandering bore. Instead, the disc’s highlight runs for an incredible four tracks, includ- ing “Coming Home,” “The Alchemist,” “Isle of Avalon,” and “Starblind,” all of which are classic Maiden.
Epic progressions provided by three very technically proficient guitarists, abundant tom fills amidst splashing and crashing, groovy bass lines… need we add more? Literally no other band can claim the impressive musi- cal lineage of Iron Maiden. Unlike many of their col- leagues creeping into medi- ocrity, the band remains rel- evant and continues to attract new fans. Although rumours con- tinue to swirl about whether this marks their final release (band leader Steve Harris says they didn’t design it as so, but admits things could change), it would be a trium- phant end to an incredible career.
— Sarah Kitteringham