By Whitney Pastorek
Updated July 07, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT
Jelle Wagenaar

These are finicky musical times, and the flashes of countless indie darlings have burned out faster than you could clap your hands and say yeah. Give New York-based post-punk outfit Interpol credit, then, for consistently living up to expectations. Their sophomore effort, 2004’s Antics, refused to slump, becoming a genuine chart-pleaser — yet they never sacrificed a lick of devotion to their occasionally droning take on Joy Division’s dour legacy. The band took three and a half years to release their major-label debut (and their fixation has moved on to the Cure, circa Pornography), but they appear to have used every minute of that intervening period to meticulously craft their return.

The outcome is akin to an artistic explosion. Instead of falling back on the repetitive thrumming and jangling of their previous recordings, they’ve crowded Our Love to Admire with unexpected rhythmic feints (”All Fired Up”) and Arcade Fire-like orchestrations (”Pioneer to the Falls”) that stymie any attempt at casual listening. Most impressive are the slowly insistent groove of ”Rest My Chemistry” — a glorious pop song in modern disguise — and the desolate soundscape of album closer ”The Lighthouse.” Little more than sporadic guitar bursts layered with singer Paul Banks’ mournful musings, the latter is quite the sonic risk for a band so defined by structure — but nothing ventured, nothing gained. Chances are they’re about to gain an even higher set of expectations. A-