July 11, 2010

Song Review: Interpol's "Barricade"

Interpol probably has as much to gain as they do to lose with their upcoming self-titled release. The lukewarm reception to their 2007 major label debut, Our Love to Admire, raised a number of eyebrows questioning whether the the New York post-punk outfit was running out of creative juice or merely had it compromised playing by the rules of the big leagues. This time around, we should get a more definitive answer, as Interpol are returning home to the indie label that introduced them to the world, Matador Records. The official lead single, "Barricade", hints at both a departure from Our Love to Admire's direction, but also a return to the band's dance-punk approach heard during their Antics era. "Barricade" contains the three usual suspects of a lead single: An upbeat tempo, a verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus structure and a length that clocks within the 4:00 mark. This is nothing new to expect from Interpol, as we've heard it before on poppier tracks such as "Slow Hands" and "The Heinrich Maneuver." However, what works well here is the absence of power chords and simple riffs in exchange for a fleshed out and complex arrangement of guitars that really carry the the track through from start to finish in the same way they did for Interpol's classic, "Obstacle 1". As for the rest of the band's work, get ready to miss Carlos D despite his mark still being left here: The opening bass line has that special little something only the D knew could make all that much the difference, while "Barricade"'s dance-punk vibe is heavily indebted to the Carlos D brand of rhythm. Of course, Sam Fogarino holds his own as the other half of the rhythm section, and this time he brings to the table something new with much more cleaner and pronounced drumming. Last but not least, it's nice to hear lead singer Paul Banks is making a return to form with that morbid yet fierce tone of vocalization. It seemed with each sequential Interpol release, Banks was losing his edge, but the faint angst during "Barricade"'s bridge is that strained desperation that really sends an Interpol song over the top with emotion. "Barricade" may not be the best thing ever to come out of Interpol, but it's a very promising glimpse into a potential return to form from these goth rockers as they stand on shaky ground. Its dance-punk energy mimics that heard on 2004's Antics, but as a huge compliment to his track, it doesn't fall flat like much of that album's upbeat numbers did. The song sees each of Interpol's members (past and present) pulling their weight once again and using their strengths to better each others abilities. If the same holds true for the rest of Interpol, then they've everything to gain.

Interpol - "Barricade"

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