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Interpol

In 2002, after the release of Turn on the Bright Lights, pretty much every independent music magazine had a big crush on Interpol. They couldn't stop raving about the Joy Division-esque sound of Daniel Kessler's vocals and guitar phrasings; "Oh, how sexy and cool they sound," said the critics. "Listen to the way his post-punk melodies rest on modern rhythms--it's like they're bringing the best of the British sound of the '80s and meshing it with the best of the New York sound of 2000. And they go to NYU!"

If Turn on the Bright Lights was the euphoric crush stage, then Antics, Interpol's sophomore release, is the comfortable love stage. All of the elements are there--reverb-saturated vocals and guitars, ultracool dance club drums, lyrics just abstract enough--but it's not as flashy, and it doesn't need to be. This is Interpol in their everyday jeans, broken in and worn a little in the knees, and they look just as good.

The songs on Antics are less hipster-cool: "C'mere" has a pop accent on the guitar that gives it an almost happy energy, and "Length of Love" gallops in on a hard rock guitar line that rides into an anticlimactic chorus that turns the song back toward its Joy Division dance roots. The record begins slowly, with a harpsichord, and the percussion and keyboards build the drama, but throughout Antics, the intensity is consistent and evenly distributed. By the end, it dips ever so slightly, but there are no extreme emotional level changes. Even the lyrics hint at the plateau: "There's nothing like this built today, you'll never see a finer ship in your life," sings Kessler.

More by Annie Holub

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