I had Interpol pegged as a band that had blown its creative load on its first album, Turn on the Bright Lights. Surely they had peaked prematurely and were destined to spend years treading in the wake of the massive momentum they had created. Their sophomore effort could be nothing more than a tired rehash.
Instead, Interpol has gotten better. Like a second date after a stellar first, the next impression must be molded patiently and carefully. Their new album Antics opens tentatively with a swelling organ and a steady beat. Momentum gathers through to track four, "Take You on a Cruise", where you will find yourself inching the volume up until its steady thwump drums you in the chest. At this point (the 3:40 mark) the sense of urgency peaks and sustains to the end of the album.
Lyrically, singer Paul Banks avoids the adolescent mush that cropped up on Bright Lights, while retaining the earnest delivery that makes his love songs believable. On "Public Pervert" he sings, "if time is my vessel, then learning to love might be my way back to sea." It's either cheesy or brilliant – I can't tell which. It's this fine balance between romance and schmaltz, between urgency and melodrama, that makes Interpol so charming.