But the key influence the critics missed, I think, is Echo & the Bunnymen, the most exciting, aggressive rock band from the postpunk crowd. Like the Bunnymen, Interpol can turn a set of mystifying but evocative couplets, backed by one or two intense, ferocious chords, into a grandiose romantic gesture that never loses its cool. Their second album, Antics (2004), includes the misleadingly named "Public Pervert," which is actually an alluring, slowly building come-on: "So swoon, baby, starry nights / May our bodies remain / As deep we move, I'll feed you light."
Interpol's appeal isn't nostalgic. They've made a new art out of their influences' sounds and moods, built on the tension between their music's cold exterior and the warmth and passion the "bright lights" at its heart. For me, seeing them open for the Cure at last year's Curiosa Festival evoked the opposite of nostalgia: the feeling that the past and future are happening at the same time. Now, I'm anxious to see them on their own in the perfect setting for them: an old, dark theater.
Interpol plays the Michigan Theater on Sunday, September 25.
[Review published September 2005]