Column: Celebrating the 6th anniversary of ‘El Pintor’

Ryan Meyer

Interpol released their fifth album, “El Pintor,” six years ago as of Wednesday. It stands alone in their catalogue to me for a couple of reasons.

Most notably, it was the band’s first record without Carlos D. on bass, who left the band in 2010.

Additionally, it was released four years after their previous record and four years before their most recent record, 2018’s “Marauder.” The gaps between these releases make “El Pintor,” the middle release, unique because it feels like a departure in style from both 2010’s self-titled record and “Marauder.”

Daniel Kessler’s guitar work on this record is statelier and up front than on any other record, which is why this is so high up on my list. It was also singer-guitarist Paul Banks’ first time playing bass for Interpol, which created and then enhanced the trio dynamic with drummer Sam Fogarino. However, Banks had played bass for other projects that he helmed, so it wasn’t as if he was unfamiliar with the instrument.

Although my favorite bass line on the album was actually played by my guitar hero, Kessler. “Everything is Wrong”

“All the Rage Back Home” opens the album in a fantastically different way than most of the band’s records, before and after. Interpol’s classic openers, such as “Untitled” or “Pioneer to the Falls,” serve to introduce the listener to the mood and tone of the album, whereas “All the Rage Back Home” skips the introduction and drops the listener in right at what could’ve been the third or fourth song. This is not a bad thing.

The album reclines with the intertwined guitar work of “Same Town, New Story” and “My Blue Supreme” before dropping another perfect song with “Everything is Wrong.” Banks’ voice rules this song’s chorus. I’d recommend the music video in which all three band members play distinctly different characters that each lend themselves to a comedy that can be overlooked while listening to such dramatic, grandiose music.

It’s easy to listen to a band’s singles and be satisfied, but I don’t advise doing that with Interpol. You’d be missing songs like “Ancient Ways,” “Tidal Wave,” and “Twice as Hard.” And that’s just on “El Pintor.” I encourage music enthusiasts to dive deep into Interpol’s discography not only to enjoy their flawless debut, but also to appreciate the fact that there are six albums worth of material to listen to. It’s not often that bands are able to follow great starts to their careers with more quality music. So I’m glad I’ve got Interpol.


Ryan Meyer is a sophomore journalism major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]