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In concert: Interpol at DAR Constitution Hall

By Click Track

interpolInterpol's early work accounted for highlights of Wednesday's show. (All photos by Kyle Gustafson/FTWP)

By Mark Jenkins

Its music remains derivative, but Interpol has broadened stylistically since its early days, when the band parked its time machine in late-1970s Britain. Wednesday night at a nearly full Constitution Hall, the New York trio (supplemented by a bassist and a keyboardist) added reggae and prog touches to its chilly dance-rock. Why, the black-clad musicians didn't even play a song that sounded like Joy Division until their third number, "Narc."

Without setting an entirely new course, Interpol's fourth and latest album melds the group's influences into a more distinctive, mostly downbeat whole. ("Always Malaise (The Man I Am)" is an apt song title.) But the self-titled disc, however elegant, includes few tunes that could conceivably rock a large venue. Midway through the band's 80-minute set, the new "Lights" and especially "Barricade" proved gutsy. But to sustain the momentum the band had to rely heavily on material from its first two albums, such as "PDA" and "Evil," which offered more energy than originality.

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The group did build an impressive wall of sound, thanks in large part to guitarist Daniel Kessler, whose rich yet unheroic playing inspired some in the audience to play air rhythm guitar. Touring bassist Dave Pajo (the former Slint guitarist) animated even the draggier songs, and the interplay of his booming patterns and Kessler's roiling guitar was worthy of Interpol's classic punk-meets-disco models. Alas, singer-guitarist Paul Banks's undistinctive vocals and standoffish stage presence didn't add much heat to the band's slow-burning style. Even during the show's least mannered moments, there was always malaise.

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By Click Track  | November 4, 2010; 10:20 AM ET
Categories:  In concert  | Tags:  Interpol  
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