Eight years ago Interpol’s debut album Turn On The Bright Lights returned Joy Division-esque atmospheric post-punk to the pop culture fray. Despite selling poorly initially, as the decade went on their influence snowballed, and today they can be credited with having facilitated the commercial path for bands like Editors and White Lies.

Taking to the stage tonight in their uniform of business suits and smart shirts, they introduce themselves with a brief “good evening”, looking more like Tarantino gangsters or overly fashionable morticians than rock stars.

The Pixies are said to have invented the loud-quiet combination in rock music, and Interpol take such an approach with their set list. Slow numbers like opener ‘Success’, ‘Rest My Chemistry’ and ‘Memory Serves’ are followed by the chest-beating candour of the likes of ‘Say Hello To The Angels’, ‘Slow Hands’ and ‘PDA’. As befitting their image and the mood of their music, between-song chat is kept sparse. When it does occur it is strictly formal, with frontman Paul Banks keeping to the age-old tradition of thanking the support acts, introducing his band mates, and naming the song just played.

As Peter Hook’s bass lines were a vital part of Joy Division’s sound, Interpol’s Carlos Dengler was also a distinguished bassist, and his departure deprives the band of his idiosyncratic onstage posturing. This hole is accentuated by the reserved nature of the remaining members, especially his replacement for the current tour, David Pajo.

Dengler was a part-time filmmaker and many of the songs from the latest self-titled album – completed before his departure – sound like scores to art films rather than the moody yet euphoric anthems Interpol used to write. This is particularly evident in ‘Lights’, which builds an atmosphere that never culminates, and any mood achieved is not followed up on ‘The Heinrich Manoeuvre’. Generally, the new tracks are flatly received compared to old favourites such as the majestic ‘The New’ and the lovelorn ‘C’mere’.

As befitting a band of their repertoire, Interpol save up for a grand encore. Starting with one of the best album tracks of the noughties, the ethereal ‘Untitled’, the band go on to raise the energy in the room with a quickened version of ‘Evil’, before exiting to the pounding drums of ‘Not Even Jail’. As much as the packed o2 Academy appreciate the show, one hopes that in their current guise as a three-piece Interpol return to the songwriting form they were in for their first two albums.

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