8. Interpol – Mammoth

Spare me the suspense.

Interpol’s music affects some deep part of my brain. I remember hearing their first single, PDA, and thinking that I liked it without knowing why. The band played with a droning sound and Paul Banks’s vocals have a depressed quality like Joy Division, but that wasn’t the reason I liked it.

I bought their first album, Turn On The Bright Lights, and the first track hit me harder than PDA (it is called Untitled and it has a fan video). There’s even more of a drone here than PDA, but they’re taking their time playing with simple, sad melodies. There’s a delay in resolution that sucks me in – the bass lumbers to an interesting space, giving me a shiver of hope before it rolls back down to its sad end. It brings up memories of childhood, of my father, of places I haven’t been to in decades. Despite the sadness of the music, these are happy memories. The first play of the first track of the first album was worth the twelve bucks.

On Our Love to Admire I found Mammoth. I was listening to the album driving up I-5 in Seattle in Jean’s convertible with the top down. The Heinrich Maneuver finished and moved into Mammoth but I didn’t notice the song change at first because it starts right after and has the same tempo. As the song progressed I heard its different character – it built up with the “spare me the suspense” line, kept building through the verse until they put the brakes on the beat and the music floated for a while. The song ended and I thought, “What was that?” and played the song again. For the rest of the trip to and from my destination I kept playing Mammoth. There’s something about it that lets me listen to it without tiring. Maybe it makes me relaxed. I’m playing it now on repeat. Spare me the suspense.



That “spare me the suspense” line is about the only lyric I can make sense of. Thank goodness it gets repeated so I have something to sing along to. The video is a waste of time.

The bass player (Carlos Dengler) mixes droning repetition with disco octaves. [It always cracks me up when I hear Slow Hands and it gets to the chorus and the bass switches from New York ‘00s cool to New York ‘70s disco.] The drummer (Sam Fogarino) keeps his usual granite beat. Singer Paul Banks sounds like he’s having a bad relationship; all is well with Interpol.


Next: 7. PJ Harvey – Dress

Previous: 9. Faith No More – Everything’s Ruined


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