Interpol is a fantastic practice in the sonic definition of melancholy. Their songs are minor-key masterpieces that paint starkly chilling pictures of life in the morally inebriated modern world.
Known for both their music and their impeccably-tailored wardrobes, these four New York art students (five, if you are sensitive enough to count a touring keyboard player) brought their dapper outfits and reverb-drenched sound to the Electric Factory on Oct. 14.
Wasting no time with pleasantries, Interpol launched right into their sprawling opener, “Untitled,” but something was just not happening. That thing was audience participation.
Throughout most of the set, the crowd stood stone-faced, staring up at the collective of culturally towering mods that had taken the stage. The rattle and shake hustle of songs like, “Say Hello To Angles” and “Roland,” did very little to bring a loose movement upon those in attendance.
Of course, the note-perfect rendition of “Obstacle ” solicited a few raised fists from the masses, but in a completely bizarre display of collective disinterest, hardly a sway was detectable.
Interpol is one of those rare bands that is a nearly effortless mixture, (or mishmash, depending on how you feel about it), between music and image. The band is as much of an attraction as its music.
In no time at all, Interpol has gone from a group of little-known indy revivalists to a full-fledged pop music happening. The reaction the band garnered at the Electric Factory made this perfectly clear to anyone in attendance.
What matters, though, is whether or not Interpol can live up to these expectations while on the road. If a song is only as strong as its last performance, the members of Interpol proved that they have one of the mightiest catalogues of any young band working today.
From the painfully distant disenchantment of “Stella is a Diver and She’s Always Down,” all the way through the is-it-or-isn’t-it-a-drum-machine precision of, “PDA,” carried over to the stage almost perfectly.
Almost, because when dealing with Interpol, you are dealing with a very produced-sounding band.
Interpol’s debut album, Turn On The Bright Lights, is a flawless example of how a little studio know-how and sonic craft can amplify the emotional impact of any song.
This subtlety is inevitably lost when put on stage.
However, great bands are able to fill the space with emotion, intensity and musicianship. During their time in Philadelphia, Interpol did so without question.
Robert James Algeo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org