TITLE: Turn on the Bright Lights
YEAR RELEASED: 1988
CHART ACTION: #158 US, #5 US Indie, #101 UK
SINGLES: Obstacle 1 (#72 UK), NYC (#65 UK), Obstacle 1 (#41 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: PDA, Say Hello to the Angels
LINEUP: Paul Banks, Daniel Kessler, Carlos Dengler, Samuel Fogarino
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Either paying homage or borrowing from Joy Division, the NYC band becomes the leader in cool, post-modern dance-rock.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Coming out of the same scene as the Strokes, the National, and others, Interpol occupied the ‘Joy Division’ revivalists of that scene. But while they clearly had influence by that dour UK group, and bassist Carlos Dengler was inspired by Peter Hook in both sound and style (detuned down to a D, slung low and picked), Interpol didn’t just ape the band.
Singer Paul Banks does have a melancholy timber to his voice, and he normally sings in a monotonic baritone. The music, though, has complex layers and chording and breaks through the normal torpor that bands usually find if they’re writing in minor keys. Plus, at times they decide to go up-tempo and while not sunshine and light, there’s something to it that allows some optimism. Just a couple of cuts wallow too much in the sadness.
This debut was a critical success and set the stage for commercial success to follow.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: This was rated the 15th best album of 2002 by the Village Voice.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, in several forms. They released two EPs (Fukd ID#3 and Precipitate) of their demos and those are appended.
GRADE: A-: While not everything is a great song, and some go on too long, most of this is good stuff, especially for those on a downer.