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.