South Wales’ Piblokto call themselves “bass-driven modern post-punk,” but what I’m tempted to call them is the new Interpol, though I usually hate to draw comparisons. This isn’t entirely surprising because Joy Division is clearly an influence for both bands, and I would recommend Piblokto to fans of the more driven, rocking songs off Turn On The Bright Lights and Antics. The timing is good because if you’re tired of the music Interpol have been putting out (that has been getting stale) Piblokto could be for you; there is more energy and force here than the worn-out sounds of Interpol (based on several tracks I’ve heard from their upcoming fourth studio album.) This is Piblokto’s first release, so I don’t feel I can be quite as hard on them and in all fairness, it is catchy, possessing a forward momentum.
The song “Vacant Vessel” in particular sounds like many Interpol songs; the intro and rhythmic thread throughout sounds like a mix between “Narc” and “Evil” off of their album Antics. The style of the vocals may be similar as well, but the voice is younger, smoother, and doesn’t strive to sound like Ian Curtis. In fact, the vocals are where I can hear The Smiths influence, somewhat Morrissey-esque, which I appreciate. The lyrical content is also reminiscent of The Smiths, while the build and driving force of the chorus, which has a nice full sound, is Interpol-esque.
“Colombian Coke Float” is a bit more punkish with a bit heavier raw sound. In fact, this song is more unique, more their own sound, though still reminiscent of Turn On The Bright Lights. But I won’t complain much, as a new, heavier version of new-wave is most welcome for me, personally, if pulled off well. That said, I appreciate this new music with a twist on a renewed new-wave sound, though I am curious as to whether Piblokto are aware they sound so much like Interpol. I also wonder how this band could make their sound, influenced by Joy Division, more their own. It’s just hard not to see Piblokto’s songs as somewhat of a regurgitation, but then again, the same could be said of She Wants Revenge, who produced a similar and less satisfying sound back in 2006. My argument would be that the bass in Piblokto could stand to be more defined, as in Joy Division, especially coming from a band that describes their music as being “bass-driven.”
At it’s best, Piblokto’s release has a bit more of a punk edge at times, which I think could be pushed. I think a move in this heavier direction works well with the pleasant vocals and the ‘atmospheric’ dark sound. It is this combination of elements that makes their music “new,” in a way it otherwise isn’t somehow. I also think these songs sound like a young band attempting to find their own sound; the more they work on it, the more it will develop and meld their influences into something more original.
The points they lose here are for what I think is wanting in originality, and the points gained for the positive elements they’ve combined, or the sounds (of three bands that I enjoy – Interpol, The Smiths, and Joy Division) that they’ve recreated.