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Interpol, ‘Our Love to Admire’ (Capitol)

“Babe, it’s time we gave something new a try,” Paul Banks sings on “No I in Threesome,” a surprisingly amorous track from Interpol’s third album. He must just be talking about sex, because once you hear the music running underneath — crisp drumbeats, chugging bass, tightly controlled guitar lines — it’s obvious the band will not be shifting its sound abruptly on Our Love to Admire. Play a random snippet to anyone vaguely familiar with such shades-drawn dance numbers as “PDA” and “Evil,” and they’ll easily guess who’s behind it. Well, maybe your mom wouldn’t know, but then again, she never got past the Joy Division comparisons.

That’s not to say that Admire is unadventurous; however, for every song that cautiously introduces a new element, two more adhere steadfastly to the band’s dread-pop model. The best moments meet somewhere in between: The insistent “Pace Is the Trick” opens with Banks’ voice hovering, almost like a spectral effect, before gradually returning to earth, its descent cushioned by muscular riffing and delicate keyboards. Spindled guitars and ominous church-bell chimes create a tense, spaghetti-western backdrop for “The Lighthouse.” A few more similarly unexpected turns would have been welcome. But Admire feels oddly reined in, a transitional record by a band not yet willing to completely let go of the past.

Now Hear This: Interpol – “The Heinrich Maneuver” DOWNLOAD MP3