Album Review: Interpol – Marauder

In 1997, a band was born that completely change the New York music scene. This band would revolutionise and redevelopment the post-punk genre and kick open the door open for the great indie revival of the naughties. Their effortless approach on the live stage, as well as their much formal shirt and tie appearance gave the band a unique vibe which spread like wildfire. Within the next five years, the band would release a record named Turn on the Bright Lights, and it would completely enhance the trajectory of the post-punk and indie sound not just in New York, but across the world.

interpol - marauder artwork

This band are Interpol, and with their latest offering, Marauder, it seems like Interpol are heading back down that same, powerful vibe as their debut. After touring the 15th anniversary of their debut record late last year, the band are back with new music for the first time since 2014’s El Pintor, which saw the band seem to dive back into their roots for some fresh ideas. With Marauder, Paul Banks and co. seemed to have jumped further into their past. A much rougher sound which can equal that of their debut, connecting personal lyrics, powerful riffs and basslines.

Marauder begins in strong fashion, ‘If You Really Love Nothing’ poses a melodic entry with Banks’ vocals drenched in reverb during the verses. The opening track is a strong way to begin the record contrasting with the fast paced and energetic ‘The Rover’. The lead single of the album, it’s a breakaway point from the steady and constant tempo of ‘If You Really Love Nothing’, and pushes you further into the record. With the first two songs you feel immediately hooked, and thats what TOTBL did for me. Marauder however possesses a much more energetic approach with its opening compared to their debut.

Tracks like ‘Flight of Fancy’ and ‘Mountain Child’ further engage this energetic feel of ‘The Rover’, yet still possesses the melodic vibes from ‘If You Really Love Nothing’. The near-5 minute long ‘Stay In Touch’ is possibly one of the standout moments on the record. An explosive launch into the track and the hypnotic builds of vocals, hi-hats and guitar that flutter through the track bringing a sense of tension to the track offering something that we haven’t necessarily seen from Interpol. The cascading and roaring guitars that flow through the track.

The album’s definite standout musical point however is Sam Fogarino’s drumming. His skills seem to have been put to the test on Marauder. The mixing on the album sees his drumming pushed further up the mix and elevated above other tracks, yet sometimes it seems to take over. On ‘Mountain Child’, there are moments where Banks’ swirling vocals appear lost and swallowed up by the percussion. This takes away a lot from what could’ve been an incredible moment on the album.

The unnecessary Aphex Twin-esque interludes sound great, yet they really don’t hold a place on an Interpol album: Marauder would flow just as well if they were not included. ‘Surveillance’ is typically Interpol, with added oomph. The textured layers of Paul Banks’ vocals in this addition make for an enjoyable vocal performance and with the talent of Daniel Kessler leading the way on most of the album, it’s here that his effortless guitar ability is shown. ‘Number 10’ and it’s 50 second, stadium guitar build, offers a clinical climax to the album. The TOTBL-sounding guitars swing you deeper into the record. The final offering ‘It Probably Matters’ has a riff that would challenge all of Interpol’s album closers. Twisting and turning guitars and a build that offers more instrumental deepness and a complex mix of synth and drums swirl further to the ending of the track. It’s a highly produced track that oozes class and talent.

Marauder is a record that will provide fans with pure joy. It’s an infectiously cool record. It possesses the charm and elements we’ve come to love of Interpol over the band’s 21 year careers and fans will love this record, yet the feel is that music reviewers will give this record an unfair hard time. If anything is clear from this record, it’s that Interpol are still at the top of their game, and there is no sign of the band from New York slowing down. They’ve still got plenty of gas left in the tank.


Lead image: Jamie-James Medina