These suave, soulful ghost hunters haven't learned many new tricks since the release of Turn On the Bright Lights in 2002, but they've gone a long way toward mastering the old ones. Almost every track on Antics (Matador), their brand-new second album, captures the incandescent image of an apparition equal parts Ian Curtis, Psychedelic Furs, and Echo & the Bunnymen--a specter whose likeness only flickered here and there about the first. The warmer, more shimmering approach on their sophomore release has cost the band a measure of the lean postpunk bite that quickened Bright Lights--there ain't a bona fide ass kicker on Antics. But the keyboards encroaching here are meticulously understated, and both the vocals and Daniel Kessler's marauding guitar are as urgent as ever, in spite of the relatively circular, swell-and-ebb song structures. The loping, lumbering, chop-slash-stomp rhythm section still dominates the music, propelling the band from start to finish on this expansive tour of ur-alternative's feyest faded eminences. But front man Paul Banks's propensity for the occasional lyrical turd hasn't gone anywhere either, so watch your step. The Secret Machines and Hail Social open. Sunday 17, 7 PM, Riviera Theatre, 4746 N. Racine, 773-275-6800 or 312-559-1212, sold-out. All ages. Interpol bassist Carlos Dengler also DJs Monday night at Danny's, 1951 W. Dickens; that's free.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Pieter Van Hattem.