Local Wire

Interpol's Fourth Full-Length Feels Flat

On Interpol's self-titled fourth album, the onetime kings of the New York indie-rock scene are still the well-groomed gloom merchants that exploded in popularity in 2002, but they seem to have lost their edge. That's not really supposed to happen after you leave the big leagues (Capitol) and return to the indie label (Matador) that made you famous in the first place. But Interpol is remarkably flat. After the intriguing, beat-heavy opener "Success," the 10-song record finds a comfortable place in which to lie down and then takes a 42-minute nap (with some light rustling during the album's best song, the dance-able "Barricade"). You're left wondering what to do as the album rests. Turn on the TV? Lower the volume and read a book? It doesn't really matter, as it seems the guys in Interpol wouldn't seem to mind if you just left them alone for a while. The obvious comparisons to Joy Division are still valid, but not quite as pronounced as one past efforts. And Ian Curtis-style emotional desolation is still the prevailing theme, as in album closer "The Undoing," in which singer/guitarist Paul Banks is "chasing my damage," and in "Always Malaise." A more appropriate title, one that would best suit the entire effort, might be "Always Boredom."