Royal Albert Hall, London ★★★★✩
SOMETIMES music revivalism is little more than a tribute act to a genre. But at others, it gives the music a chance to breathe again. Early noughties New York post-punk revivalists are a case in point. The great British bands with whom they were fascinated had mostly come unstuck, one way or another, or been crushed by the vast gravity of U2.
If The Strokes were the most louche band from that NYC scene, and The Walkmen the most supple and impassioned, then Interpol were the most formidable. They were engineered to last — 16 years and five albums on from their renowned debut, here they were filling the Royal Albert Hall on the back of a forceful new record, Marauder.
Interpol are one of those bands who sound like they look: sharp, severe, black-clad, implacable, concealed rather than revealed by staccato bursts of light, betraying not an ounce of surplus fat nor an inch of give.
This was a show enjoyable even — perhaps particularly — for someone who can’t tell one of their songs from another. It all surged outwards as a whole, and felt like a rally powered by supercharged marching music, although, with his bandmates fixed points upon the stage, the only eye-catching movement came from Daniel Kessler, his legs flicking and capering hypnotically to the chords he sliced from his guitar.
A band for whom precision has at times seemed a kind of fetish, Interpol have over the years gradually broadened their sound and nudged it away from its sources.
They are evidently not about to slacken off. But here, they were expansive, and exhilarating.