For those unfamiliar with the term, an interloper is one who is involved in a group or situation in which they don’t belong. Why this is the name of a very poignant album is beyond me- Interlopers is packed with intelligent indie pop as sharp as the name of the group’s front woman, Tara Thorne.
What makes Interlopers so thrilling is in part thanks to its unpredictability. It’s like a musical Jenga tower- at any moment it could crash, and for some people that’s the best part of building one. By this I mean a song that can start off sweet and quietly can morph into something grand.
The album is also produced by three different people, and as we all know each producer makes his or her own marks on songs. In this case the producers are Matt Charlton (who seems to be popping up on many east-coast-act liner notes these days), as well as Amelia Curran and Jenn Grant.
Instrumentally the album is quite lush. Thorne has a fantastic vocal range and plays some interesting chords, but then there’s also the kickass percussion from Craig Jennex and string support from Rebecca Zolkower. To hear Jennex’s great percussion at work listen to “Parks and Resignation,” which turned out to be one of the album’s strongest tracks.
“Things Change, My Dear” show the more upbeat side of Dance Movie, featuring a nice flourish of strings and some great backing vocals. “Blow Out the Candles” also features some great strings as well as a rather chilling line: “Close the windows, they can hear you screaming.”
To get a sense of my musical Jenga tower analogy, check out “Blood Ablaze.” It starts on an odd note, with slightly distorted guitar riffs, but after three minutes builds such a crescendo that you’ll scarcely believe you’re hearing the same song.
As much as there’s fire on this album, Thorne also features songs that are tender. “Big Talker” features such lines as “I will hold back all the things that scare you” and begs a lover to come home. “A.N.A.F.” could almost be a folk singalong.
But nothing, absolutely nothing, can prepare you for the stake to the heart that is “Threw It Away For Karen O.” What the connection to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs singer is eludes me, but this song wears its heart on its sleeve in a huge way. The song uses beautiful piano chords as Thorne sings with heartwarming honesty lines like “But I know/That you know you would be/Be the biggest score.” The punch to the gut comes with the refrain: “Hard enough to/Know I want you/Harder still to know it’s wrong.” Warning: do not listen to this song if feeling sad and/or lonely or you may burst into tears.
Interlopers can be many different things depending on how you look at it. Perhaps it’s “indie-pop for sad bastards” as Thorne describes it, or you could see it as something hopeful. Whatever it is, this album packs a punch.
You can stream or purchase the album via Bandcamp.
Top Tracks: “Parks and Resignation”; “Blood Ablaze”; “Threw It Away For Karen O”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)