El Pintor

Their first two albums saw Interpol emerge as the big player of the New York scene with a swag of snags that had their statuesque live shows sold out the world over. Following a three-year hiatus, Interpol have had to reinvent themselves somewhat for their fifth album, El Pintor.

After their last, self-titled album, bassist Carlos Dengler departed the band, leaving frontman Paul Banks to take over bass duties. With Interpol stripped down to a trio for El Pintor, touring member Brandon Curtis has been brought in to add keyboards to the lion’s share of the album. Each of the tunes starts with a stark single instrument and builds into the kind of cascading wall of gloom that is expected from Interpol, as shown with ease on Ancient Ways.

Banks spent some of the past few years dabbling in rap, yet luckily there is no evidence of that within the confines of the Interpol trio. Banks has developed a falsetto that offers a point of difference to his usual unaffected timbre, and is put to great use during the albums high point of Blue Supreme.

Interpol may not have the amount of listeners as they used to, but with El Pintor being their most solid effort for some time, it should arrest any slide in popularity. El Pintor is as delightfully dark as any of Interpol’s post-punk highs.