This impressive three-song single is Interpol's first release for Matador, following a self-released single and another for Scotland's Chemikal Underground. At some point early on, someone decided to start comparing this New York trio to Joy Division, which makes sense given the mannered, precise fashion in which the group builds tension and (sometimes) releases it, and for the fact that the vocals occasionally approach the depths of Ian Curtis' thick baritone. These comparisons began snowballing and eventually turned to accusations of cloning. This is a horribly nearsighted way of viewing the band; a Joy Division comparison is only one of many that can be drawn, and they are all tenuous at best. A couple examples: the tightly wound nervousness of the vocals truthfully has more in common with the Violent Femmes' Gordon Gano without sounding like a bratty, scrawny Patti Smith fan; the solemn "NYC" surprisingly resembles mid-'80s U2 to an extent, removing all the pomp and throwing itself into a thicket of reverb anchored by a dubwise bassline. To those looking beneath the surface, Interpol becomes a band of its own. Each of the songs here emit various shades of gray, built on durable arrangements, a veteran band's sense of economy and dynamics, and a streak of gloom that never quite reaches overbearing doom.
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AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman