Interpol – A Fine Mess (EP Review)

If you cast your mind back to the mid 2000’s, you’ll remember that for a period of time, the airwaves were practically dominated by an indie-rock revival and, 2004 in particular was like the finest of wines; a vintage year. While the UK itself had produced some absolutely scorching debuts from the likes of FRANZ FERDINAND and THE ZUTONS, things were very much on the same wavelength across the pond, with artists such as ARCADE FIRE and THE KILLERS dropping two of the most revered records of the 21st century to date. However…amidst all of these overnight success stories, it was second time lucky for INTERPOL.

Yes in 2004 the Manhattan based rockers released their sophomore album “Antics” and despite strong competition they found themselves nestled among the indie-rock elite; claiming their place in the UK albums charts which to their credit, they’ve maintained with each subsequent album since. Now, in 2019, the trio prepare to release a brand new EP by the name of “A Fine Mess”, so let’s see what they’ve gotten themselves into this time…

The EP opens up with the title track “Fine Mess” and it wastes virtually no time getting started, as we’re immediately thrust into a wall of semi-reverberated vocals and tinny instrumentation. The subtle distortion of the guitars is appropriate given the track title, but as it progresses it grows into this moody, electronic-tinged number that fans of early EDITORS may appreciate. “No Big Deal” then takes things down a notch with a slower, low-tempo effort; plodding along near lethargically had it not been for the generally more melodic chorus, but vocally here Paul Banks comes across as a little bit droning and it’s arguably the weakest track on offer.

We do quickly pick things back up for the rest of the EP then luckily, as “Real Life” provides us with an immediate counter-highlight. With its gradual build over a simple, rhythmic beat it’s atmospheric and almost militant as it leads the listener to another atrabilious yet melodious chorus. “The Weekend” is upon us then and no I’m not signalling the beginning of a three-day sesh (Although I’m not about to stop you)…the EP’s lead single; it’s a fine dose of classic, up-beat indie rock that instrumentally exudes positivity, and even though there’s a contrast vocally (He can be quite flat at times) it’s still a fun track. We round things up then with “Thrones” and it’s essentially more of the same with a certain monotony to the vocal delivery, spoiling some otherwise fine indie-rock, giving off an almost shoegaze aesthetic.

Overall the tone here isn’t a massive departure from their previous release “Marauder” but you can hear a clear change in production quality; there’s a marked difference in terms of crispness and clarity…the EP here sounds a lot rougher around the edges, not quite demo quality but it’s noticeably not as polished. “A Fine Mess” despite not being a complete mess as such, is essentially just fine…no more, no less.

Score

Rating:

Record Label: Matador Records

Release Date: May 17th

Track List:

  1. “Fine Mess”
  2. “No Big Deal”
  3. “Real Life”
  4. “The Weekend”
  5. “Thrones”

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