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.