Interpol – A Fine Mess (EP Review)

It is a safe bet that anyone who listens to Rock music has at least the slightest inkling of who the band Interpol are. Begun in Manhattan two plus decades ago, they have had their share of international success emerging from the Post-Punk revival of the 2000s. Now, with the current lineup consisting of Vocalist Paul Banks, Lead Guitarist Daniel Kessler, and Percussionist Sam Fogarino, Interpol will be making a brief but triumphant return with a new EP, A Fine Mess, on Friday, May 17th via Matador.

Touring regularly, A Fine Mess marks Interpol’s first release of new music since 2018’s LP, Marauder, and it is an EP with intent. How so you may ask? Well, look at it as a living, breathing postcard from the band to their fans as they tour the world throughout 2019, and a linear continuation of the visceral and contagious energy set loose with Marauder. Five tracks in total, it follows the grooves and patterns of the Interpol genealogy while still being distinct. In fact, the EP’s own cover art is from undeveloped film found in a police station located in Detroit, from an evidence room left in ruins.

The first track, “Fine Mess” immediate features a staccato and repetitive style that stick to the ears and echo off. It embodies a hypnotic quality that is a bit reminiscent of the early 2000s Indie Rock scene and its predecessor, the New Wave scene. A simple beat with a neat hook, “Fine Mess” is a palatable way to introduce the EP to fans. Banks referred to it saying, “It’s about a sanguine and starry pair, buoyed and dashed alike by their own dreams and appetites,” truly defining the song well. 

Next, “No Big Deal” seeps in with a funkier sound. Still heavily droning and haunting, the rhythm guitar, bass, and drums swell underneath with the heartbeat of the song. An interesting cut, it has a slightly doomed vibe behind it’s groovy ‘cigarette in the foggy night’ sound. Continuing on with the vibe, “Real Life” inches in on a wavy line of music. Channeling a slightly more ’80s style with a smoother tone, “Real Life” is crooned out by Banks as lyrics are succinct and surreal, as he raises the question “Is this real life for a change?

Without much pomp and circumstance “The Weekend” begins. The first song unveiled a part of the announcement of A Fine Mess, it is a straightforward piece with cyclical instrumentation and muddled lullaby vocals. Ending it all, last but not least, “Thrones” is a bit more dissonant and a little more invasive with more of a bite and some odd notes weaved in. 

Overall, A Fine Mess is another beautifully woven layer to the Interpol web. Embodying the band’s core sounds and interesting lyrical takes, yet, it manages to stand by itself. A solid offering, Cryptic Rock gives A Fine Mess 4 out of 5 stars.

Purchase A Fine Mess:

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