It's easy to hear why Interpol was the first band picked by the Cure to open for the goth godfathers during last summer's Curiosa Festival. On their sophomore disc, the downtown New York hipsters wallow in gloom and doom in a manner that must bring a reluctant smile to Robert Smith's face. With their coolly moody Antics, these alt-rockers also evoke such '80s mopes as the Smiths, Echo & the Bunnymen and, most of all, Joy Division. Indeed, lead singer Paul Banks's baritone eerily recalls the monotone delivery of Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis, who committed suicide in 1980. And the quartet's neo new-wave sound on tracks like the deceptively upbeat first single, "Slow Hands," with Banks droning. "Can you see what you've done to my heart and soul?/This is a wasteland now," will make you want to break out your old skinny ties. On the album's best cut, the weirdly romantic "Evil," Banks pledges his devotion to a woman named Rosemary over a shuffling beat from drummer Sam Fogarino and a thumping bass line courtesy of Carlos D. With only so many different shades of black for Interpol to explore, the band steers out of pitch-dark waters with the trippy "Take You on a Cruise," on which Banks promises his lady "we sail today to drown in your wake of delight." —C.A. •DOWNLOAD THIS: "Evil"