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September 07, 2010 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-09-07

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

9A - Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom 9A - Tuesday, September 7, 2010

GET LOW
From Page 7A
predictable sort of transformation.
If the initial premise is to tell the back-
story of this mysterious legend, it doesn't
become clear until about halfway through
the film. Everything hinges on the mys-
tery of why the protagonist would choose
to isolate himself for 40 years and then
come back to throw his own funeral
party. It is evident, through the fractured
pieces of dialogue and engineered gruff-
ness, "Get Low" is a poor man's attempt
at Coen Brothers tragicomedy. Yet as the
film sputters through its grim one-liners
as if it were a protracted sketch on "Sat-
urday Night Live," it stagnates. Not until
a revealing dinner at Bush's cottage does
the plot question finally become apparent,
but at this point one hour into the film, the
audience cannot bring itself to really care.
From here, the buildup is antiseptic and
the climax does not so much burn out as

fizzle.
The folk tale-redemption circuit is a
storyline that is ripe to be explored, but
cinematographer-turned-director Aaron
Schneider ("Two Soldiers") simply does
not have a strong enough grasp of the cam-
era in order to make all the elements gel
together. Yet Schneider faithfully main-
tains a certain authenticity to the period
film, liberally dusting its mule-drawn car-
riages and storefront windows in sepia
tones with 6lan, while twanging fiddle
tunes scratch out melodies in the back-
ground. But for all its adherence to the
1930s rural Tennessee atmosphere, "Get
Low" cannot match its rather small char-
acters to romp in the period playground he
has provided for them.
With a run-time far too long for its rath-
er weak storyline, "Get Low" is not color-
ful or caricatured enough to match up to
the big expectations other tall-tale films
have already reached - not complicated
enough to become a star vehicle for Duvall
and not interesting enough for the audi-
ence to stay the entire way through.

Interpol gets awkward

Self-titled LP starts
with a bang before
fizzling into
pseudo-balladry
By JOSHUA BAYER
Daily Arts Writer
When a band releases a self-titled
LP, it usually means one of two things:
the record is either a
debut (The Smiths, The ***
Modern Lovers, Suede)
or a brazen follow-up Interpol
to an alleged master-
work (Portishead after Interpol
Dummy, Broken Social Matador
Scene after You Forgot
It In People, Liars after Drum's Not Dead,
etc.).
Interpol's Interpol is neither of these.
But, tactically, it's easy to see why the
band would decide to drop the eponym
bomb at this point in time. Ever since
Interpol debuted with the classic Turn
on the Bright Lights in 2002, the group
has been at the raw end of a struggle for
artistic ingenuity.
2004's Antics, while an incredibly
solid record, was essentially just a strip-
ping-down and cleaning-up ofthe outfit's
signature goth-grooving, with a shift in
emphasis from hazy doomsday catharsis
to lighter, mid-tempo riffing - a trick the
band could only pull once.
2007's Our Love to Admire was the
true red flag. The album's vapid attempt
to recapture the emotional intensity of
Bright Lights resulted in an incredibly
mixed bag of hair-raising head-boppers
("The Heinrich Maneuver," "Mam-
moth") and laughably contrived "men-
ace" ("Pioneer To The Falls," "All Fired
Up").
Interpol is Interpol's first true crack at
legitimately retooling its sound instead
of simply revamping it. Moreover, the
album is the band's most serious sonic
effort since its debut. While there are
flashes of the shadowy riffing and groov-
ing that define Interpol's aesthetic, the
record is undeniably the band's most
experimental outing to date, flaunting
an otherworldly exoticness that was only
hinted at superficially on Our Love to
Admire.
First, Interpol easily contains two
contenders for strongest song of 2010.
Album-opener "Success" and lead single
"Barricade" are both tendon-tightening
tours de force, coming the closest to the
Interpol of yore without cashing in on

In(terpolception.
remixed nostalgia. Both tracks pump
like well oiled pistons, building jaw-
droppingly propulsive grooves out of
spaced-out,-in-the-pocket instrumenta-
tion, testifying to the fact that the band
is at its finest when focusing on sinisterly
funky drum-and-bass-and-double-gui-
tar chemistry.
While the rest of Interpol never really
matches the grand-slam-ness of those
two tracks, it packs a handful of similarly
stellar growers. "Memory Serves" is like
'Success' and
'Barricade' are
tendon-tightening
tours de force.
a sexy foray into a satanic strip club, con-
stantly threatening to short-circuit on its
tight, circular rhythms while stealthily
building steam. And "Lights" could be
the most intricate songthe band has ever
recorded, starting out with little more
than Paul Bank's funereal vocals and
austere guitar churning and seamlessly
evolving into a goliath of jagged arpeg-
gios and open-hi-hat drum pummeling.
Unfortunately, all of the aforemen-
tioned songs fall on the first half of

the album. After "Barricade," Interpol
slumps into a murky sludge of pseudo-
balladry that continues the album's vein
ofunbridled darkness andsonicmystique
but failsto balance it out with instrumen-
tal dynamism or pop sensibility.
"Try It On" mashes together Andrew
Bird-style whistling with glitchy stutter-
synths and a tense, wintry piano loop
that feels straight out of a dog sledding
documentary, epitomizing the album's
penchant for bizarre juxtapositions that
don't quite click. The song - and much
of the album's second half - is all pile-up
without any of the band's traditional gut-
punchy acrobatics, sounding like it could
have been assembled from loops. By the
time Banks is mariachi-ing in Spanish
over a bit-crushed drumbeat and retro,
horn-style synths on closer "The Undo-
ing," the term "shock value" has effec-
tively lost all of its meaning.
Ironically, on Interpol, the band's
weirdness quotient is almost in direct
proportion to its drabness quotient.
While the album's latter half is chock-
full of on-paper experimentation, it
comes across as a mopey skip-a-thon of
all gloom and no bite; the drumming is
either canned or nonexistent and the
basslines do little more than keep time
and underline Bank's vocals - a virtual
crime, considering Interpol has one of
the juiciest rhythm sections in indie rock
today. One can only hope that Interpol
is more of an awkward transition album
and less of a dead end.

"Is Bill Murray gonna have to chokabitch?"

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