By far the best band at capturing the essence of its post-punk predecessors, Interpol has became recognized as this generation’s Joy Division through its hauntingly melancholic ambience and sense of impending doom embedded in their sound. And it is on their debut release Turn on the Bright Lights (2003) that this New York group lives up to their reputation as one the decade’s harbingers of dark, brooding excellence.
As the album opens with “[Untitled],” the mysterious world of Turn on the Bright Lights slowly enters as its growing sense of urgency looms over passing each guitar stroke. Lead singer Paul Bank slowly enters the sprawling track, simply crooning throughout, "I will surprise you sometime, I'll come around, when you're down," exhibiting a desolate vocals tone that only Ian Curtis (Joy Division) has previously surpassed.
Just as “[Untitled]” warily invites listeners into Interpol’s mysterious world, we are brought into a melancholic journey full of disparate moments of compelling, anxious energy along with a weary, tranquil foreboding. Between “NYC”—a warm, dissonant ode to the band’s hometown—and “PDA”’s frenetic combination of Carlos Denger’s striking guitar with Banks’ menacing baritone tone, the album’s dynamic remains the focal point, as one gets easily absorbed into traversng the chilling world created on this album. Turn on the Bright Lights is the soundtrack of an ominous, haunting reality—one that prevails as naturally brooding, comfortably dark, and an atmospheric showcase of brilliance.
More from the War on Pop's Decade in Review:
#11 My Morning Jacket - Z (2005)
#12 Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago (2007)
#13 Jay-Z - The Black Album (2003)
#14 Beirut - The Flying Club Cup (2007)
#15 Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings - Naturally (2005)
#16 Daft Punk - Discovery (2001)
#17 The Black Keys - Rubber Factory (2004)
#18 LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver (2007)
#19 Antony and the Johnsons - The Crying Light (2009)
#20 Common - Like Water For Chocolate (2000)
#21 Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes (2008)
#22 Jens Lekman - Night Falls Over Kortedala (2007)
#23 Beach House - Devotion (2008)
#24 El-P - I'll Sleep When You're Dead (2007)
#25 Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion (2009)