Antics marks Interpol’s return after nearly two years of touring, and the enduring of their somewhat unexpected rocket to the height of indie fame. Unexpected, because while it was a tense, gripping and ultimately emotionally rewarding debut, Turn on the Bright Lights wasn’t really what you’d call accessible. That said, Antics should be an even bigger triumph. The same foreboding permeates its ten concise tracks (defined mostly by Paul Banks’ vocal waver and terse phrasing). But the interim has definitely made Interpol a bit sunnier, more concerned with atmosphere than claustrophobia. To that end “Evil” is lyrically chilly, yet undeniably hooky, and “Not Even Jail” effortlessly ties a jagged lead guitar and wiry new wave rhythms to feel-good lyrics like “You see what you’ve done to my heart … It’s a wasteland.” Though it’s strong throughout, “Narc” and “Take You on a Cruise” feel the most realized. Comparison’s always been the group’s burden, but these songs suggest the powerful sway of recent tour mates the Cure. With Bright Lights, Interpol made self-pity fashionable. For Antics, they’ve written love songs for the artfully detached.

Johnny Loftus writes about music for Metro Times. E-mail

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