After the stripped-down, high-energy affair of 2018’s Marauders, indie rock darlings Interpol return with a softer, more subdued approach on The Other Side Of Make Believe. The tracks maintain much of the same intensity of any given Interpol release, but on this album they paint in carefully constructed, moody pictures as opposed to the spontaneous bursts of sound on its predecessor.
Having turned down the volume and mellowed the tempo, the individual instrumental work receives more attention, allowing listeners to take in the melancholy ambience created by the often eerie vocals and echoed guitar cadences. The spacious mix also draws more attention to melodies and the dramatic changes they create, and some of them are superb as on “Into The Night,” “Renegade Hearts,” and “Passenger.” However, due to the languid speed and repetitive timbres, a few tracks begin to meld together, becoming indistinguishable. “Gran Hotel”—perhaps the best track of the bunch—bucks this trend, heading an interesting, closing trio of songs that branch out from the rest of the album’s tone and rhythm.
The Other Side Of Make Believe is a more cerebral effort than Marauders, perhaps too much so, but it rewards those willing to pay attention and appreciate the melodic and sonic nuances that color in the spaces left blank by the occasional lapses of vim. On its own the set is enjoyable and works well within the broader Interpol catalog even if it doesn’t impress like previous albums.