Interpol – The Other Side of Make-Believe (Album Review)

Interpol – The Other Side of Make-Believe (Album Review)

The New York City-hailing Interpol continues to secure its place as one of the enduring forerunners of the 2000s phase of Indie Rock. Formed in 1997, Interpol released its debut full-length, Turn On the Bright Lights, in 2002. Five albums followed, all through 2018’s Marauder; and now a new one has just been unleashed.

Released on Friday, July 15, 2022, via Matador Records, Interpol’s latest effort is titled The Other Side of Make-Believe. Produced by “Flood” (Mark Ellis) and mixed by Alan Moulder, it marks Interpol’s  – Paul Banks (vocals, bass, rhythm guitar), Sam Fogarino (drums), and Daniel Kessler (lead guitar, piano) – seventh overall studio album. Consists of eleven new tracks in total, it opens introspectively with the subtle gallops of the piano-led “Toni.” Following in the expected direction is the Post-Punk “Fables” and “Into the Night,” which is a further step to the band’s trademark Goth-glazed Indie Rock disposition.

A bit more angular and metallic, “Mr. Credit”–which features Flood, providing additional vocals–then stomps its way back into Interpol’s comfort zone, only to return the listener to somber piano balladry in the form of “Something Changed” – the album’s second single. Definitely the highlight, “Renegade Hearts” has the ingredients of what makes it a perfect Indie Rock song – melodic guitars, tom-based drum pattern, tubular bass lines, and chilling baritone swagger. Still in the same mood, “Passenger,” however, slows down the rhythm slightly, as if setting for the listener a serene ambience.

Later on, “Greenwich” is a trek to the countryside – a bit bluesy, a little subdued. Near the end of the set, their most recent single “Gran Hotel” starts dramatically with a synth drone and then splinters to sharp, jagged guitar strums. The penultimate track, “Big Shot City” then conjures neon-bright night street-lights – dizzying, trance-like, filmic, absorbing. Finally, the trio wrap up their latest narrative aptly with the Shoegaze/Dreampop-stylized midtempo “Go Easy (Palermo).”

Many bands have definitely made great impressions especially during their so-called legacy days. That in mind, only a few have been able to carve a long and productive path over the years. Interpol is one of those bands. The Other Side of Make-Believe is yet another proof of that…believe it or not. After all, the music is enough to back this up, and that is why Cryptic Rock gives this brand-new oeuvre 4 out of 5 stars.

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aLfie vera mella
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Born in 1971, in Metro Manila, Philippines, aLfie vera mella is a healthcare worker, singer/songwriter, and editor/writer. He was the frontman of the ’90s-peaking Philippine Alternative Rock / New Wave band Half Life Half Death, which released a full-length album and several singles on Viva Records. aLfie worked at Diwa Scholastic Press as an editor/writer of academic textbooks and supplementary magazines, focusing on Science & Technology and English Grammar & Literature. In 2003, aLfie migrated to Canada; he has since been living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He works full-time at a healthcare institution, while serving as the associate contributing editor of Filipino Journal—a local community newspaper in Winnipeg—tackling Literature, Languages, Cultures, Lifestyles, and Music. aLfie has been a music journalist since the mid-’90s for various print magazines as well as websites. He started writing album reviews for Cryptic Rock in 2015. In 2016, aLfie published Part One (Literature & Languages and Their Cultural Significance) of his Essay Series, Can You Hear the Sound of a Falling Leaf?; in 2021, his first book of poetry, Pag-íhip sa Dáhon ng Kahápon [Blowing Leaves of Yesterday]. In his spare time, he enjoys reading books and listening to music. aLfie is a dedicated father to his now 13-year-old son, Evawwen; and a loving husband to Kathryn Mella, who herself moonlights also as a writer aside from holding a degree in Bachelor of Arts, Major in Sociology.

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