Ben Winch's Album Review
A strange thing happened in the early “noughties” and it haunts me to this day. A bunch of people—including people I knew, mostly (like me at the time) in their early thirties—started worrying that rock was dead. Of course I thought they were crazy: I lived in Melbourne then, and you could walk to just about any corner pub in the inner suburbs and find proof to the contrary. But people were scared and depressed, just enough so that when the Strokes came along they felt like celebrating, and by the time Turn on the Bright Lights broke through they were born again. Now me, as a longtime Joy Division fan I never gave much creedence to the soundalike accusations. To me Interpol sound more like U2, with that all-downstroke high-on-the-neck delay-driven guitar work that, in the wrong hands, can sound so monotonous. But that didn’t much bother me, since let’s face it, so many bands sound like that. Nor did I really mind the hamfisted two-chord songwriting or even my visceral negative reaction to the singer: I could ignore it if I wanted to, right? No, what really killed me was the number of people who recommended this band to me knowing I was a Joy Division fan. THERE IS NO COMPARISON. The crime is not that Interpol failed to build on their influences, but that they built their brand on the strength of them. For me, their emergence was one of those Twilight Zone moments, when it feels like the whole world’s gone crazy. My theory? It wasn’t the music that was ailing, it was the industry. There must have been a thousand bands that could have done the job as well or better, but no-one had the resources to find and market them. And in those mostly pre-internet days I guess the punters didn’t know where to look either. A turkey.