Interpol’s Turn On The Bright Lights continues to be a masterpiece in its own debut and warmed the hearts of all post-punk revivalists. Yet, Fifteen years later, Antics, continues to be more than a follow-up, if one could even call it that, to its predecessor. In celebration of the milestone anniversary of the album's release, weeks ago the band released a limited edition white vinyl of the sophomore album, which is now limited in select record shops. The slickness of the white vinyl called for a revisit to the 10-track melodious feature which easily ties as one of their most memorable collections.
As Antics ages, it changes with listeners, as does Lights, but for different reasons. One could very well argue that any album could do the same, but not every album pushes past survival mode and simply lives. Subsequently, where Lights orchestrated the why’s of life, Antics orchestrated the how.
For Interpol, this album was just as important as their debut, in fact it seemed to be one. It gave an audience another look at the band’s repertoire of sounds and explored different arrangements. It allowed, as its title defines, the slight “whimsical absurdity” that could be executed with a darker heart, especially through its lyrical composition. Paul Banks’ vocals ventured from strictly a monotone wave to one that obtained melody fit to Daniel Kessler’s most iconic riffs. And Carlos Dengler and Sam Fogarino’s mixture was an intoxicating, rhythmic aroma. And of course, it became home to cult classics “Evil” and “Slow Hands.”
Not to say all notions from their debut were stripped away. “Next Exit” opens as this reminder, but with more optimism. There's an earnest linger which could be felt in the slow tempo and romantic build, and becomes one of the tracks that break loose lyrically from the disparity which Banks pens with ease. Book-ending the album with similar sonic threads as Lights come “A Time to Be So Small.” It narrates a “family relationship” in a haunting manner that play on the many different leads for a narrator. An ironic and playful execution adored on Antics.
Subjective to the threads of time and age — which is depended heavily on the ear and the mindset of the listener — Antics inadvertently guides adolescents to seasoned humans. As a listener, we don’t always grow with albums, or quite possible they don’t age like fine wine. Antics’ layered pieces of innocence and sober truths of reality have made it so that time has now caught up with them.
“Not Even Jail” comforts this ideal. Where 15 years ago its first listen would not have hit as hard as it does now. An extended instrumental outro takes on a fluid dressing and renders a myriad of depth. Reflective lines harmonize each separate mood the verses hold and all are tied together by the prolific chorus: “Remember take hold of your time here / Give some meanings to the means / To your end / Not even jail.” In the same way, “Lengths of Love” continues to haunt differently. The ominous keys are not seen as a filler anymore, but an internal struggle of growing distance.
Antics also carried a timeless love and did not grapple in its confessional. “Public Pervert” might mislead in its title, but enamored ears by the first lines. “C’mere” follows suit and seems to dismantle the fantasy by “Public Pervert.” It drives with a tinge of pain — “The trouble is that you're in love with someone else / It should be me” — but somehow reassures a faithful heart, regardless of distance. In its entirety (lyrics, breaks, tone), “C’mere” is a precious stone on Antics. It once again showed more universal sounds to be adored by any listener, not just fans.
And throughout the years as Interpol’s sound has adapted and grown, Antics remains an art to be remembered. Age doesn’t suddenly allow leverage for an album, but consequently allows more damage, if any, to be shown. Antics is that album that continues to be fresh and not fazed with time’s marks. Each song stands alone in its own grace from beginning to end, but then again, it could be me that's changing.
Interpol continues the last of their tour with Morrissey before making their way to Mexico for Festival Corona Capital 2019.