Tuesday, 12 January 2010

649 INTERPOL, Secret Machines, Bristol Academy, Wednesday 15 December 2004

The last gig of a slow year saw myself and a last-minute companion Beef hitting the Academy for NYC's Interpol. Hit the venue at 8 as support Secret Machines were a couple of numbers into their set. Top new band at Reading Festival this year only by default, they'd certainly come on in leaps and bounds since that problematic-sounding set. Now a holy-tipped NYC combo like their tour companions, their metronomic, atmospheric spacerock sounded a lot more cohesive and coherent in an indoor venue than in the Reading tiny tent. Still a little monotone and long-winded at times, they were nevertheless a lot more enjoyable. Potential taking a step forward...

Interpol, however, are now fully realised and firing on all cylinders. After a 2 year hiatus following their debut CD, they've delivered a sublime follow-up, "Antics", which makes that debut sound flat and one-dimensional by comparison. Still harking back to the gloomy rockist sound of the early 80's, they're no longer totally in thrall to the likes of Joy Division and "Heaven Up Here"-era Bunnymen. Still drawing the mood and menace from that time into their own, effortlessly cool sound, they've now fused their own identity to the work, sounding less derivative and more inspired in the process.

The set was, appropriately, superb. Dry-ice swathed and back-lit, they switched between both albums for the set material, trilby-hatted Paul Banks' metronomic vocals and Daniel Kessler's choppy guitar work a feature throughout. An hour of brilliant atmosphere, mood, menace and control was capped with a couple of encores and some unexpected, effusive thanks from the band. No, Interpol, thank you, for becoming what you've threatened to be all along; a truly important and influential band for the new Millennium!

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