Hope + promise glint through a signature moodiness
Neive McCarthy
11:13 15th July 2022

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Interpol’s seventh album creeps into being quietly. The Other Side of Make-Believe marks two decades since their debut Turn On The Bright Lights – after twenty years, they still have the capacity to make those dark, enticing tracks that drag you incessantly into the world of Interpol.

...and yet, on The Other Side Of Make-Believe, there’s a subtle difference for the band. Now far enough into their career they know their listeners will appreciate their every release; the need for radio hits and anthems is long gone. Instead, they are free to carefully weave a web of dark shadows, one which encompasses their latest album and tugs it into harmony. 

Interpol have always leaned towards murk and gloom – it’s integral to the fabric of the band, and so it remains through their latest efforts. The Other Side Of Make-Believe, however, sees light shining through the cracks. Their signature moodiness remains, but it glints with hope and promise. It’s a quiet optimism, for an album that relishes the more subdued: Paul Banks’ vocals are less raucous, humming with considered restraint and a newfound penchant for the pensive. Though wisps of their usual cynicism linger, there’s a lightness to this new gentle version of the band. Even in their twistingly tense moments, such as on ‘Renegade Hearts’ (one of the album’s standouts), they writhe towards absolute relief. 

Interpol’s lifespan has seen them hurtling along, often explosive and overflowing with ambition. The Other Side Of Make-Believe feels like they have become settled, and content. Perhaps it’s a reflection of the more isolated means of creation they found in the making of the album – mid-lockdowns, across continents, they each had to focus on their own sections in a more intense, intimate manner. It’s because of this that it feels as though their strengths have been amplified. Lyrically, Banks found introspective, thought-provoking streams of ideas about resilience and tenderness. Elsewhere, Samuel Fogarino tightens his percussion skills more than ever – ‘Big Shot City’ is inimitably refined. 

At times, it can feel like some of the album’s tracks can meddle together – it’s an atmospheric release, and that atmosphere settles thick and fast over each moment. It’s consuming, so even when it becomes run on, it’s in a deeply immersive way. ‘Into The Night’ rises with a rapidity and fever so great it seems to squeeze the breath out of you, and that’s a recurring experience that Interpol provide here. They push that tension to the brink, leaving you feeling unshakeably dizzy.

It may well be a more peaceful affair than the fervour of their earlier releases, but on their seventh album, Interpol reconnect with an engrossing, potent power of enrapture they’ve always had, just through an intriguingly different avenue.

The Other Side Of Make-Believe is out now.

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Photo: Press