"Turn on the Bright Lights"


Last year, the Strokes reclaimed the idea of New York rock with a sound woven from remnants of the Velvet Underground, Television and the Feelies. That approach hasn't set the tone, however, for the rest of the new New York scene (which is mostly based in Brooklyn). Instead, the city's resurgent rock is heavily indebted to '80s British art-punk. No band has a heavier obligation than Interpol, whose "NYC" -- included on both the quartet's debut EP and its new album, "Turn On the Bright Lights" -- salutes Gotham in the style of Manchester.

Interpol's principal influence is the brooding, looped-licks propulsion of Joy Division. Like that group, Interpol is a pensive groove band, making music that surges underneath vocals whose melancholy monotone keeps the specter of pleasure in check. The band also partakes of Echo and the Bunnymen's epic balladry, and has one song, "Say Hello to the Angels," that apes the Smiths all too accurately. These are worthy models, and when their styles are better digested they may serve the group well. For now, though, Interpol sounds more like a small-town tribute band than a big-city innovator.

-- Mark JenkinsAppearing Friday at the 9:30 club with Calla and Phaser. * To hear a free Sound Bite from Interpol, call Post-Haste at 202-334-9000 and press 8104. (Prince William residents, call 703-690-4110.)