Interpol : Cardiff Barfly that looks beyond traditional rock touchstones to something wonderfully other...

It’s showtime. Over the last couple of months, New York natives Liars and

The Rapture have steamed into Cardiff Barfly, loosened their valves, and

blown the roof off this venue with the Brooklyn punk-funk beat. It’s hardly

surprising, then, that anticipation for this show is intense. Serious young

men and elegantly-dressed girls in eyeliner crush at the stagefront. Cynics

may pin this New York thing as a fad, but the reaction of the punters says


The anticipation is justified. Live, Interpol are the sumptuous banquet to

The Strokes’ toothrot pop bubblegum. ‘Obstacle 1’ is a work of gothic wonder, Daniel Kessler slashing violently at his guitar as singer Paul, eyes tightly clenched, barks about “stabbing yourself in the neck”. The pin-sharp ‘PDA’ is beautifully

uncluttered, guitars and bass chiming in perfect symmetry. ‘Say Hello To The

Angels’ is a sprightly homage to[a]Smiths[/a], foppish Marr-style melodies

weaving round Sam Fogarino’s upbeat drum motifs. And if Interpol do sound like[a]Joy Division[/a], it’s for all the right reasons: the way that Carlos’ rapier

basslines are as influenced by the electronic new-wave than by traditional

follow-the-guitar indie logic, the way that touring keyboard player Eric

Altesleben’s stellar synth lines envelop the songs like immense velvet

drapes, then slip away leaving the guitars shrieking in cold, stark beauty.

This is music that looks beyond traditional rock touchstones to something

wonderfully other.

Louis Pattison