Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Sixteen years and five albums following the release of their boundary-pushing debut record, Turn on the Bright Lights, indie rock veterans Interpol release the long-awaited Marauder. Despite the anticipation of the record, however, the album soon slumps into a gloomy mediocrity.
The main issue that the listener crosses as the first chord of Marauder strikes is that the entire album somehow sounds exactly like every other Interpol record, though perhaps a bit more watered down. The riffs and grooves are lukewarm, like a desultory garage band version of Interpol. “The Rover” sounds like an El Pintor B-side that didn’t make the cut. “Flight of Fancy” sounds like Turn on the Bright Lights but without the charm of their early lo-fi production quality. In essence, most of the tracks seem to have a previous album sister, making the record feel like the lazy, half-mixed reject of a younger group.
This brings up the second major dilemma with Marauder: the production is nothing short of regrettable. On nearly every track of the record, the vocals are almost entirely drowned out by washy guitar tones, crash cymbals, and hi-hats. In turn, those guitars act as their own enemy with the delays and reverbs pushed to such an extreme that the overall tone of the whole record sounds muddy and suppressed. “Complications” and “Surveillance” are particularly vulnerable to these vices.
Despite these shortcomings, the record is not without its silver linings. The second single, “If You Really Love Nothing,” while still reiterating that classic Interpol sound, contains somewhat compelling melodies and key changes. The subject matter is charming as well, developing a character of an isolated and vulnerable individual. The track “Mountain Child” also goes so far as to explore a somewhat new sound for Interpol, incorporating a softer, jazzier tone.
At the end of the day, however, Interpol grabs onto the low-hanging fruit of another reverb-soaked, melancholy record. By far, Marauder stands out as Interpol’s weakest album.