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The last time I saw Interpol play, I had just fallen in love with their first LP. Four months later, they are back in London playing alongside The Thrills, The Polyphonic Spree and The Datsuns on the last date of the annual NME tour.
The band slink on stage, sharp-suited and pretty, and open with ‘Untitled’ (a title that would sound pretentious in anyone else’s hands). “I will surprise you sometime, I'll come around”, repeats Paul Banks against a hypnotic backdrop of chiming guitar. Like their UK contemporaries British Sea Power, their youth has seemingly been (mis)spent listening to the shuddering bass of Joy Division and the art-school punk of Magazine. Piano-wire taut basslines underpin the gauche romanticism of the lyrics: “But you’re so cute when you’re frustrated, dear” sings Paul on 'PDA', and a thousand bedsit miserablists swoon. This evening they are tighter than before, and no less thrilling for it – in spite of the uninspiring venue.
The band are more polished and passionate this evening than at last year’s Kings Cross Scala show, although the performance is teasingly brief. Interpol may only have one album to draw songs from, but what songs. They don’t simply plunder the textbook post-punk influences, although it would be disingenuous to claim that they are doing something entirely original. But since when was that the sole criteria for greatness? If talent borrows and genius steals, then Interpol top my most-wanted list.
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