Interpol - The Heinrich Maneuver
Alex Worsnip 18/06/2007
I hate it when people say 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'. It's a sentiment that smarts of complacency, of turgidity, of (the) Status Quo (both the concept and the band). But maybe, just maybe, the quibble is one of application: its use as an excuse for a lack of development, for tired retreadings. And if that's right, 'The Heinrich Maneuver' may just be a case for its more legitimate application.
On the surface, it does little to change what Interpol have been (successfully) doing for a while. Sharp, call and response guitars blend with those familiar clipped vocals that are strangely German in their efficiency. The opening could easily be something off Antics, pitching somewhere around 'C'Mere', with a dash of 'Obstacle 1' for good measure.
But the details of the song are its making: in particular, the chorus blends squalling, atypically loose guitar punctuation with a mobile bassline and some subtle synths to create an effect that vaguely recalls the darkly dramatic atmosphere of REM's 'The One I Love'. On top of it there's an intruiging lyrical hook-line: "today my heart swings": a little opaque, evocative, disorientating. It's the exactly the kind of line that "you make me want to pick up a guitar and celebrate the myriad ways that I love you" (from Slow Hands) isn't.
Structurally interesting, energetic and catchy, 'The Heinrich Maneuver' is perhaps the moment where Interpol finally match swagger and passion like for like. They've done both before individually: it's a mark of their growth as a band that they can now combine the two.