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jakerowley
16th May 2023

Interpol tease ‘Interpolations’ project with new version of ‘Big Shot City’

Jazz drummer/producer Makaya McCraven gives ‘Big Shot City’ a fresh coat of paint, but does he make it any better? Kind of, but not really
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TLDR
Interpol tease ‘Interpolations’ project with new version of ‘Big Shot City’
Interpol & Makaya McCraven, ‘Big Shot City – Makaya McCraven Interpolation’ Official Single Art

Indie rock stalwarts Interpol have announced the upcoming release of Interpolations, a collaborative ‘reimagining’ of 2022’s The Other Side of Make Believe, alongside a documentary about the making of the album. The Other Side of Make Believe was possibly their weakest release to date, as even its handful of highlights suffered from flat-sounding production, and ‘Big Shot City’ was no exception.

But news of Makaya McCraven‘s involvement in this reworked version provided cause for optimism. The acclaimed jazz drummer’s 2022 studio album, In These Times, was arguably one of the year’s best, comprising a tight and rhythmically-varied collection of instrumentals. It expertly balanced a relaxing atmosphere with enough variety to keep it engaging – something that could not be said of The Other Side of Make Believe.

Fittingly, then, his drumming on this ‘Big Shot City’ Interpolation gives it a fresh, funky feel, breathing some life into an otherwise slightly joyless song. Still, it’s hard to shake the impression that it just sounds like the original ‘Big Shot City’ with a McCraven drum track thrown on top. Paul Banks’ double-tracked vocals sound just as thin and weak as on the original version, and indeed the whole thing still sounds like it was recorded inside a cardboard box. There’s also nasty production blip at the start of the chorus (and again, even worse at 2’25), where the kick drum completely overwhelms the mix, causing the other instruments to briefly drop out – the lyric “sunken signal submarined” describes the effect pretty aptly.

So overall, it’s a mixed bag. On the evidence of this single, it is hard to predict with confidence that Interpolations will be particularly enlightening for Interpol fans, as McCraven’s ‘Big Shot City’ struggles to transcend the limitations of its source material.

3/5

Interpolations will be released gradually over the course of the next few months. Hear ‘Big Shot City’ below.

Jake Rowley

Jake Rowley

Jake is a postgraduate student and Mancunion sub-editor, currently studying for a masters in musicology (MusM) at the University of Manchester. His music interests are varied, but he particularly loves alternative rock and Britpop, and is a big fan of Radiohead, The Cure, Sonic Youth and The Beatles.Jake is also a moderator on the lyrics website Genius under the alias ‘Irrelevant Cabbage’.

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