This article originally ran in 2014; we’re dusting it off in honor of Paul Banks’ birthday on May 3rd.
No one from the New York indie underground showed up as well-dressed as Interpol did in 2002, but it didn’t take long for the band to prove they were more than the sum of their suits. Turn on the Bright Lights, the band’s seminal debut, turns 20 this year, and yet its stark, winding compositions sound as eerie, eviscerating, and paradoxically fun as ever. Interpol bred post-punk with post-rock and ended up with a startlingly durable hybrid.
It’s strange to think that Interpol’s upcoming album The Other Side of Make-Believe, due in July 2022, is only their seventh. They feel like a band that never quite went away and never really revamped the strategies they started with; the suits have stayed on, the riffs stayed echoey and huge. Despite their detachment from the indie music culture that bubbled and evolved around them, Interpol are still a fixture.
For those of us who started really hearing music around the same time Interpol started really making it, they’re a core figure in our cultural identities.
To celebrate Paul Banks’ birthday on Tuesday, May 3rd, we’re revisiting their back catalog and selecting the tracks that mean the most to us. Turns out these sharp-suited perma-creeps can still ring up the chills for hours. Here are their best songs (and you can scroll to the end for a playlist of all 10 tracks).