Reviewed by Christopher Gray, Fri., Oct. 15, 2004
InterpolAntics (Matador) Maybe Interpol should've just packed it in, let Paul Banks go back to his international studies and allowed Carlos D to work on his lucrative sideline as a DJ. There was almost no way the NYC quartet could follow up 2002's seething, out-and-out brilliant Turn on the Bright Lights, yet even though there was nowhere for the band to go but down, Antics is hardly a flop. If it doesn't exactly blaze off in bold new directions, it does offer an opportunity for Interpol to do some fine-tuning (not that they need much) and settle comfortably into their black, velvet-lined pocket. Antics sacrifices some of Bright Lights' tension for a more breathable sound. That's good if you're Banks, who sounds like he stopped at two lattes this time out, and guitarist Daniel Kessler, whose spiraling flights into the ether are smoother and better shaped; not so good if you're Carlos D and underused drummer Sam Fogarino, who tend to drag in spots. Banks also makes admirable progress as a lyricist, coming off more human than the hormone vampire of Bright Lights. Antics is doomed to wilt in the shadow of its predecessor, but in reality the two are separated mostly by savvy sequencing and the element of surprise debut vs. the inevitable sophomore downturn. Turn on the bright lights when the party is at its peak, and save Antics for the morning after.