Interpol’s “A Fine Mess” EP: What is it and is it good?

This article will contain two parts. Part one will be informative, will cover speculation and will also cover first impressions on the two teaser tracks “The Weekend” and “Fine Mess”. Part one will also be written before the rest of the EP has been released while part two will be a full review of the five-track EP.


Part One: The Singles

In preparation for the release of the EP Interpol has dropped two singles, “The Weekend” and “Fine Mess”. “Fine Mess” was the first of the two which hit Spotify and other outlets on Jan 30, 2019, with “The Weekend” being released on March 28. Both of these singles fall into the signature Interpol genre of highly instrumental indie rock/post-punk with great, abstract lyricism. As expected, the returning members for the recording of the EP consist of, the starter of the band, Daniel Kessler on lead guitar, the vocalist/rhythm guitarist frontman, Paul Banks and the amazingly skilled Sam Fogarino on the drums. It’s been confirmed that Dave Fridmann produced the five tracks for the band. While it is assumed that Paul recorded the bass parts for the EP, as he has for Interpol’s latest albums since the leaving of their bassist, it hasn’t been confirmed nor has the keyboardist. Also as expected, Interpol is sticking with their tried and tested indie rock-independent label of Matador records for the five songs. Lastly, it should be mentioned that all five tracks of the EP are rejects of their latest 2018 album “Marauder”.

Here are some first impressions on the two teaser tracks:

“Fine Mess” definitely has darker instrumentation with a prominent bass throughout, the song also generally puts forward a moodier tone with its lyrics, guitars, and tonal effects.

“The Weekend” definitely sets a slightly happier tone with its more upbeat sound but still manages to give off an almost gloomy feel.


Part Two; The Review

To start off we have the first of the five songs, “Fine Mess”. “Fine Mess” is definitely one of my favorites out of the five because of its tight bass lines and contradictory guitar parts that manage to really click together. However, I do think that the bridge to the last chorus could’ve been more interesting with less of a focus on the keyboards yet I really do enjoy the guitars on the bridge and the entirety of the last chorus. Lastly, I really do dig the strong vocals throughout the entire track.

After “Fine Mess”, the second song in the tracklist is “No Big Deal”. I feel as if “No Big Deal” could’ve had a stronger more rhythmic bass, though I do really love both guitar parts and the amazing drumming of Mr. Fogarino.

Third, we have the guitar-led track of “Real Life” that combines a flashy guitar rift with strong basic drum lines. “Real Life” also works with the foundation of the drums and lead guitar by adding dark lyricism by Paul. While both guitars and the drums have stand-out, prominent parts the bass is heavily overlooked in this song by being reduced to little more than bland quarter notes in the verses. With that said, the bass is noticeably stronger in both rhythm and melody during the bridges and choruses. Next in the list is the aforementioned.

“The Weekend” which is definitely one of the more bright, catchy songs of the EP. While I do enjoy the general instrumentation of the song, I feel as if, again, the bass has been overlooked and I also largely dislike the repetitive vocals.

Concluding the five tracks we have “Thrones” which strongly gives me the impression of being the weakest song of the entire EP. Also it should be mentioned that no part of “Thrones” really manages to feel exemplary with its almost bland instrumentation and vocal parts.

Before a closing verdict, for me, the five songs from best to worst goes, “Fine Mess”, “No Big Deal”, “Real Life”, “The Weekend”, and lastly or worstly “Thrones”.

In the end, I really quite enjoy how each of the five tracks follows suit of “Fine Mess” in their  dark, bleak tone but I strongly feel that Interpol’s “A Fine Mess” EP, while being a fun listen, just doesn’t stack up to their previous, more refined and emotional work. Past the included criticisms the EP just doesn’t stand out with me but I do find it enjoyable in moderation.

To finish, I feel comfortable giving “A Fine Mess” a 7.6 out of 10. It’s not great compared to Interpol’s other work but it makes for a fun play through. (With everything said, the EP can now be listened to on most platforms, I recommend you check it out and make your own opinions and observations!)

by Spencer Kim ’24

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