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‘El Pintor’ is Interpol’s first record since the departure of Carlos Dengler, the much-adored bassist and poster-boy for the New York band throughout their formative years. Since early 2010 the group have powered on as a trio without their charismatic bassist. They’ve conquered festivals worldwide and continue to perform to sold-out audiences that only grow larger in size. Interpol truly is a beast that cannot be ground to a halt. The recording of this new album, however, was to be the greatest test during the band’s history. Could they really carry on without Carlos D? With the release of their fifth album, we’re finally about to find out.

Amazingly, the impact of Carlos D’s departure is barely noticeable on the album. The band have refused to compromise their aesthetic in any way, resulting in an album full of tracks which could have easily been on any of their previous records. As is the case with many popular artists, people tend to complain if their album’s fail to deviate in sound, quickly labeling them as “samey”. ‘El Pintor’, on the other hand, somehow seems to avoid this categorization. It feels less like “same old, same old” and more like an old familiar friend.

The album’s awash with all the melancholic yearning that we’ve come to recognize from the band – although, with the aid of their thunderous rhythm section, the songs are driven by a sense of urgency and hope. In their many years as a band, being both gloomy and unavoidably exciting is a craft that Interpol have mastered to near-perfection. It’s not only the general sound of the songs that has remained constant too, but also the standard.

‘All The Rage Back Home’, the lead single from the album, launches us into proceedings and instantly sets the bar at its highest. Whereas a handful of other tracks could be described as “growers”, ‘All The Rage..’ is easily one of the most immediate. If you don’t wholeheartedly love this track, then stop while you’re ahead, because this is Interpol at their very best.

The album stays strong with tunes such as ‘Anywhere’, and ‘Same Town, New Story’ – but it’s not until the last three that the album reaches its peak and surges into an epic finale. ‘Ancient Ways’, ‘Tidal Wave’ and ‘Twice As Hard’ give this fantastic album the send off that it deserves. ‘El Pintor’ is 40 minutes of solidarity from one of our generation’s greatest bands. It might not be quite as magnificent as their earlier albums, such as ‘Turn On The Bright Lights’ or ‘Our Love To Admire’, but they are incredibly tough acts to follow and Interpol’s minute fall of form fails to detract from ‘El Pintor’ in the slightest.