The Paranoid Style: The Interrogator (Bar/None) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Monday, May 27th, 2024  

The Paranoid Style

The Interrogator


May 15, 2024 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

By now, fans should know exactly what to expect from any new Paranoid Style album and this one, their first since 2022’s For Executive Meeting (and fourth overall full-length since their 2016 debut LP, Rolling Disclosure), is no exception. And on this level, The Interrogator delivers. Singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Elizabeth Nelson’s biting, incisive, and always topical and literate lyrics make reference from everyone from Nick Lowe (on the brilliantly-titled “I Love the Sound of Structured Class”) and John Cooper Clarke (on “Last Night in Chickentown”) to Thin Lizzy, Bob Dylan, and Neil Young elsewhere.

A fourth album from this Durham, North Carolina via Washington, D.C. group that merely repeated the successes of their first three and accompanying EPs would be more than fine. However, Nelson, guitarist Timothy Bracy (formerly of The Mendoza Line), and longtime collaborator William Metheny, amongst others, up the ante here by including dB’s/R.E.M. power-pop legend Peter Holsapple to play tasteful but never overwhelming lead guitar licks, thereby also further cementing their connection to ’80s college/indie rock.

Another difference is direct inspiration from the early ’80s production style of ZZ Top’s breakthrough album Eliminator, pulling together genres and sounds once thought separate, in their case electronic textures with guitar-based rock and roll, adding it to their already potent power pop/New Wave/pub rock/garage rock stew. And while this record doesn’t really sound like ZZ Top or any Texas-based boogie or blues rock, one can definitely hear and feel the more steady 4/4 rhythms here.

Additionally, there are not only musical references galore here, but others such as in “The Return of The Molly Maguires” that highlight a historical group of working-class heroes whose story is just as relevant today as it was in the 1870s. And there is (usually) dark humor present throughout the record, if the above wasn’t an indication, and as song titles like “Print the Legend” also bear out. (

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10


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