New Release: Interpol, ‘Marauder’

Interpol’s debut album, Turn On the Bright Lights, is one of those mysteriously great albums that landed in precisely the right place at the right time: early-2000s New York City.

Rock was on the ascent. The band had been gigging and amassing hype since 1997. CBGB was still a club and not yet a branding exercise appropriated by Target. The city was affordable for bands: Hypergentrification had not yet rendered Manhattan a playground for bankers and real estate vultures.

And then the towers fell. Recorded just two months after the World Trade Center attacks—and released in 2002—Bright Lights’ moody urgency immediately caught the ear of critics eager for a new rock authenticity in the age of turgid nü-metal. “I felt a magic when we were writing the record,” frontman Paul Banks says. “Whatever that thing is, I think we had it.”

That magic resided somewhere between Banks’s melancholy baritone and the band’s knack for swooning post-punk hooks, and it helped make Interpol into dapper-dressed icons of the city’s post-9/11 rock rebirth. Turn On the Bright Lights became a critical touchstone, and Interpol an influence on bands like the Killers and the xx.

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