Turn On The Bright Lights

Wednesday, 14 May 2003

I’ve been burn­ing up Interpol in my CD player lately. Theirs is a mu­si­cal ex­pe­ri­ence that I have never had the plea­sure of lis­ten­ing to be­fore. Turn On The Bright Lights is a very taut al­bum. It goes through a se­ries of anx­ious peaks and in­tro­spec­tive val­leys but re­mains rife with a feel­ing akin to what post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der (PTSD) must cause. TotBL be­gins with ‘Untitled,’ a song that ef­fec­tively brought me into Interpol’s unique vir­tual sonic world and set the ten­sion for the rest of the al­bum.

This is also an al­bum with a plot and plenty of sub­texts. The in­tro­spec­tion ap­pears most of­ten with re­spect to sex/​love re­la­tions and thoughts on pu­rity and promis­cu­ity. Lyrics like:

Well, she was my cata­tonic sex toy, love-joy di­ver | She went down down down there into the sea, | Yeah she went down down down there, down there for me, right on

from ‘Stella was a di­ver and she was al­ways down’ are pretty blunt.
Other songs feel quite ur­ban to a coun­try boy like my­self. It seems like Interpol are try­ing to cope with an anomie caused by life in New York. Especially in ‘NYC:’

But I’m sick of spend­ing these lonely nights | Training my­self not to care | The sub­way is a porno | The pave­ments they are a mess

we see the anonymity of liv­ing among mil­lions.

My fa­vorite two songs on the CD are ‘Obstacle 2’ and ‘Roland’ and I feel that each are the best ex­am­ple of the sex/​love theme and anomie re­spec­tively. All of the songs blend to­gether so well that the CD ends all too quickly de­spite be­ing of nor­mal length. At the same time, while you want to hear more, it is hard to think of any­thing that can be added. The dri­ving crescendo of gui­tars and the qua­ver­ing voice in the lyrics add clo­sure to each song and the CD as well, leav­ing me, at least, feel­ing as if I had just been through an emo­tional work­out.

I liked it if you catch my drift. Give it a shot.