Who says the ’80s sucked? As trends are recycled every 20 years or so, it’s clear that our childhoods are up for sale.

The ’60s were modernized in the ’80s and now, we have that mishmash of the ’60s and the ’80s resurging in the peripheral garage rock trend and, more recently, retro-new-wavers.

So where does Interpol fit in? Among the new bands that are hipper-than-thou coming from the revived New York City scene, Interpol is the only one to synthesize a blend of garage rock and moody new wave without the cheesiness.

The guitar lines fluctuate between punk and pure richness, layering as if the Velvet Underground went electric and turned up the distortion. The bass lines ebb and flow, giving each song a fluid feel.

For those with the meticulously messy hair, Interpol melds the artiness of the Bauhaus, the taughtness of Joy Division and guitar interplay of Pulp. For all of you who are into hemp accessories, Interpol sounds like a punkier version of the Cure led by a throatier sounding Thom Yorke of Radiohead fame.

Paul Bank’s voice is standout. Cursory observations have likened it to Joy Division’s Ian Curtis. However, the only similarities between the two are the theatrical deliveries of lyrics. Bank’s sound is more an amalgam of Lou Reed’s lazy singing of tales of bohemian New York with the vocal brooding of Curtis.

“Turn on the Bright Lights” is rare in that it is an incredible debut album.

“Untitled” is a four minute builder that ends without climaxing. The next track “Obstacle 1” entirely makes up for it with its pumping, desperate sound.

“Stella was a diver and she was always down” and “NYC” both demonstrate Interpol’s ability to tell a story where both the words and music are equally important and never loses its quality for the sake of the other.

The last track “Leif Erikson” says its piece and then makes a quick, graceful exit without melodrama. This resolute ending serves to remind you of the stark power of this album.

What makes “Turn on the Bright Lights” stellar is that the moodiness isn’t used to drive the songs. The songs drive the moodiness. The somber tone simply rests on well-crafted songs that make this album definitely worth owning. Skip Kazaa and head to Record Archive instead.

Kenific can be reached at kkenific@campustimes.org.

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