Interpol had been around for a few years before making a breakthrough with the album Turn On The Bright Lights in 2002, which was bang in the middle of a period when a number of bands from New York City, such as The Strokes and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs were coming to wider attention, and which coincided with an explosion in what was labelled a post-punk revival thanks to guitar bands again coming to the fore and taking their influences from the 70s and 80s, both in terms of sound and vision.
There was, however, something more to Interpol than most, possibly because they had a level of craft and musicianship that seemed to be a bit above the norm, something which became particularly apparent with their second album, Antics, which hit the shops in September 2004 and immediately became lauded as one of the essential records of the year. It certainly ticked all my boxes, and where the debut had been at times felt moody and slightly impenetrable, the new collection of songs seemed destined to get the festival audiences on board, thanks to irresistible, upbeat tunes over which ambiguous and multi-meaning lyrics were sung. It felt like the best elements of Joy Division/New Order, the Bunnymen and The Cure had been meshed into one band, although there were a number of critics, especially in America, who had a real go at the band for failing to develop their own style and for becoming a pastiche of a bygone age.
The album had been preceded by the single Slow Hands, which took Interpol into Top 40 of the UK singles charts for the first ever time. The album provided a few obvious candidates for a follow-up, but the record company held back for a period of time, deciding that the first week of January 2015 would be the best time for the release of the next 45. Maybe that fact that it would be accompanied by what I have long felt to be the most creepy and genuinely disturbing music video ever made was a factor……it certainly would have been a sobering and cheerless view in the run-up to Christmas:-
It’s certainly an unforgettable promo, even if it is one that I can only watch on an intermittent basis. It’s a terrific piece of music, driven along relentlessly by the basslines of Carlos D but to which all the other members of the band make the most marvellous of contributions. It was a song that deserved to be a huge chart hit, and while it would prove to be the biggest single success enjoyed by Interpol, it deserved a better fate than stalling at #18. Maybe the fact that so many folk already owned the song, via the purchase of the album over the previous four months, was more of a factor than anyone at the record company had realised.
The period following the release of Antics was when Interpol cashed in, taking its their own headlining tours across the world, appearing as special guests at outdoor gigs by some of the giants of the stadium-rock gigs (including U2 in Glasgow and Coldplay in London), as well as taking their place high on the bills of various summer festivals. Evil was the track that got folk dancing and singing along more than any other.
mp3 : Interpol – Evil
Here’s the rather excellent b-side of the CD single, one that was otherwise unavailable:-
mp3 : Interpol – Song Seven
Incidentally, if you want to waste a few minutes of your life, you could browse around the internet and read all the different interpretations of what Evil is meant to represent, despite its composer, the aforementioned Carlos D never ever uttering any words of explanation.
3 thoughts on “EVIL”
For me Interpol were the only band that mattered coming out of the NMNY scene. The Strokes were honestly just a yawn for me and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs were a fun but patchy.
I was the perfect target for the Interpol sound – steeped in the Post Punk of my youth and looking for something that was new but reminded me of the past. They have never sounded just like any of the bands I love from those halcyon days, but you can tell from their approach, their sound, that they are grounded in it. Where Turn On The Bright Lights has so much of the energy of early albums by The Bunnymen, The Chameleons, The Sound. Antics is deeper, more measured, might I say more Rockist even. My favorite track, Not Even Jail, wouldn’t have sounded out of place on The Bunnymen’s Heaven Up Here. If I thought McCulloch could pull off the vocals, I would love to hear him and Will Smith attempt it.
Bright Lights was kinda Joy Division with dumb lyrics and expensive suits. With Antics, Interpol did what all good 00’s rock bands did: flex their Pixies muscles. (Carlos D’s bass sound is copped directly from ‘Gigantic.’) I was glad when the spotlight rotated back to NYC for a few years. Some of the bands from the city’s “rock resurgence” made some decent records; TV on the Radio, Walkmen, Liars & co. But, ultimately, the principal acts–Interpol, Strokes, YYY’s–were crushed under the weight of self-indulging their influences. Saw all those bands live and they were just too cool for themselves.
My brother JTFL – you make some good points. As much as I enjoyed NYC being the musical epicenter for a couple years, I hated how much attention was put on it. It didn’t feel organic like it did in our youth. It felt PR machine produced. I feel like as indulgent as Interpol may have gotten as the decade continued, they survived much better than the majority of their contemporaries. On a separate note, I really like a lot of TV On The Radio’s work, but Tunde Adebimpe’s vocals just drive me to distraction.