Last week, I came across a thread on the Drowned in Sound music forum called Albums You Think Are A Band's Best Work But Most People Think Are Average At Best. Spotting an opportunity for some shameless self-promotion, I posted a link to this blog post, which treads some similar ground. I asked if anyone else finds themselves biased towards the first album they hear by an artist, even if that record is rubbish compared to the rest.
Here's one of the replies I got:
I love me a bit of Interpol, but like a lot of their fans, I do feel that Our Love to Admire was somewhat weaker than their first two full-lengths. It didn't help that its immediate predecessor was Antics, an album that any band would struggle to live up to. While OLtA isn't a complete flop, it certainly isn't up to the high standard that Antics set - heck, even Faceless_Opinion eventually realised that the earlier albums were better. For my part, there's one big reason why I'd take Antics any day:
It's more concise.
It's shorter, yes, but there's actually not much in it: OLtA is the lengthier listen by about five minutes, and even though it's got one more track than Antics, you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who thinks that 11 tracks is unreasonable. But goodness gracious me, if you're looking for an album that feels a lot longer than it actually is, look for Our Love to Admire. It's not nearly as direct as Antics; where that album was packed with lean, mean post-punk hits and the odd slow one for diversity, OLtA is typified by tracks that feel five minutes long, even when they're not. Strangely, the ones that actually are that long are among the better ones; Pioneer to the Falls and Pace is the Trick span more than ten minutes between them, and they're two of my favourites. No, it's songs like No I in Threesome*, Wrecking Ball, and The Scale that I'm not keen on; plodding 'atmosphere' songs that don't go anywhere and outstay their welcome.
Of course, OLtA does have The Heinrich Maneuver, which actually wouldn't have sounded out of place on Antics. It also has All Fired Up and Who Do You Think, two shorter, snappier songs of the type that could have lent the album a lot more levity in greater number. I remember the Uncut review of this album; they gave each track a rating out of five, and those two songs only got two stars each. No I in Threesome got the full five. Perhaps I'm in the minority regarding that song, but no matter which tracks they choose to pick on, it seems like almost every Interpol fan considers OLtA to be a disappointment.
So let's have this corker from Antics instead:
*Interpol have always been kinda horny, but never quite as obviously as on No I in Threesome.