Interpol, Heaven, London

 

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The Independent Culture

They've been away for quite a while, have Interpol. One of the best bands of their generation had looked done in by the time they released their third album. When it didn't get the hoped for response, it looked like the band would drift apart. Now though, three years later, dimly under-lit and swathed in dry ice, Interpol's hiatus is nothing more than an awkward memory.

Purists may baulk at the strange man standing in the place of departed talisman Carlos Dengler. The new guy (Dave Pajo, formerly of Slint) keeps his head down all night, and while his bass is not in truth slung as low as his forebear's, it swiftly ceases to matter. He fits right in, and his adoptive band are as tumescent as ever – even if their drummer does seem to have taken to the stage in a T-shirt.

The set is a jubilant mix of old hits, songs we might just now be allowed to call "classics", mingling with material taken from their imminent fourth album.

The live arena is not a good place to properly judge any band's new stuff, but it's all generously applauded, and it sounds as if Interpol may have made a promising effort to progress their sound.

They play quite up-tempo, tearing through even slower songs at some pace. It's fierce, a reinvigorated band playing old favourites with newfound menace, a clear attempt to make a comeback with all guns blazing after years of diminishing critical returns. It works up to a point: they're tight, their playing lithe and animated, but what tonight's set picks up in swagger, it loses in nuance. The contours of their magnificently textured back catalogue are a little lost in the flurry. That said, there's not a lick of fat in the whole set, and with luck, we might have ourselves a decent band again.

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