If you follow a band as slavish to style as Interpol, you’ve got to expect the quartet to surf art-world tides as effectively and dramatically as their music, well, doesn’t. To wit: the move from the stark three-color minimalism of the Antics cover image to the bold, three-animal maximalism of Capitol debut Our Love to Admire (the work of noted high-art fauna photog Seth Smoot). Nothing to do with consistency, in other words, and everything to do with cultural currency. And now, while the cover of the quartet’s forthcoming eponymous LP reverts back to stark, single-word brand management, the video for first single “Lights” errs more in the gooey, sci-fi direction of Matthew Barney.
The clip, Charlie White, the high-concept auteur previously responsible for the band’s 2005 “Evil” clip, in which he presented Paul Banks as a monstrous marionette blithely reporting from the scene of a horrific car accident in which a gorgeous woman was horrifically injured. (If there’s a better single-sentence summary of Interpol than that, I’ve yet to read it.) For “Lights,” we’re treated to a pheromone-harvesting ceremony in the belly of a rhinoceros beetle.
But this isn’t any National Geographic-style return to nature for these guys. Note: This is Interpol working with a director most known for his sinister fascination with porn iconography. To wit: We’re treated to two Asian women clad in latex and leather (the “Courtesans”) ingesting a semen-like white liquid in the manner of the world’s most expensive coke bump, then uncloaking a third woman (the “Pheromone Doe”), taking samples from her with shiny metal implements, and resheathing her in latex. And, duh, of course she’s going to vomit this semen-like substance down an aestheticized sidewalk grate.
Hopefully this doesn’t turn out to be a good single-sentence summary of the new Interpol record.