Julien Plenti Is ...Skyscraper
I'm not sure if I'd just temporarily had enough of Interpol, but 2007's major label debut Our Love To Admire failed to engage me. Tracks (and lyrics) like 'No I In Threesome' or 'Rest My Chemistry' just made the band seem like parodies of themselves - making it easy to imagine a Saturday Night Live sketch with Will Ferrell singing his shopping list, Interpol style. I just wasn't in the mood and after a few attempts it slipped away into the abyss.
Lead singer Paul Banks is back with the band's original label - Matador - for his first solo record, under the guise of alter-ego Julien Plenti. Banks had performed under the name prior to joining Interpol in 1998 and returns to the moniker here perhaps in an attempt to to scale back the arena-baiting sound of the band's recent work. While Banks' distinctive vocals certainly define the album, it's not a simple case of lumping this in with Interpol's main body of work.
The distinctive Interpol fuzz bass is often present, and pounding drums echo around Fun That We Have and to a certain extent Games For Days (unsurprisingly drummed by Interpol stick man Sam Fogarino), but the songs maintain a more low-key approach throughout, roughing up some of the over-applied polish of later Interpol. Banks' vocals are never quite unleashed to their full volume, but songs like No Chance Survival, the strings of Girl On The Sporting News or stand-out freebie Fun That We Have show another side to Banks that works very nicely.
While this makes is a nice addition to the Interpol cannon, the record does lack wallop in places - and the aforementioned thumping drums of old favourites Obstacle #1 or Not Even Jail would certainly add a bit of clout. Hopefully this side-project will give the day-job a re-boot and we'll leave that for Interpol #4 - I'm in the mood again now.
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