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The Back Room
on 5 July 2005
First of all, who are Editors? Well, if you're reading this, you probably know but if not then Editors are a Birmingham New Wave\Post-Punk outfit that specialise in the sounds of the early 80s and its raincoat clad pioneers.
Yes, 80s New Wave. Now, the argument could go on all day about the fashion in music today and whether we need another angular guitar, rhythmic and altogether dark group, but I'm not going to go into it... Whether or not Editors are an identical copy of Joy Division or a regurgitation of their parent's' record collection doesnt matter until you've finished with their record itself.
So lets get to the record itself. The fact of the matter is, is that Editors can knock out a good tune and they've done it more than once. However, after a couple of singles it is always interesting to see how the band take this to a long-player. Desperate and wailing epic single 'Bullets' is there and so is the dark urgency of follow-up 'Munich', but it can be seen in the next single 'Blood' how easy Editors obviously find this. The Ian Curtis\Paul Banks vocals of Tom Smith are effortless in making these songs massive-sounding, sincere and a little bit scary. But it doesnt stop here though, because Editors have more to offer. Album opener 'Lights' is a jumpy, short and catchy song that gets straight to point with no messing. 'All Sparks' is The Back Room's centre-piece and has the trademark Editors quality of the album's singles and will have you singing along from the first listen. 'Fingers In The Factories' caught me off guard at first but its unusual jumpiness grows on you, making a slightly bizarre and original use of Editors talents. Taking it down a notch, 'Fall' and 'Camera' have all the melancholic reverence you might expect whilst maintaining an accessible mentality of the album's dancier moments.
The lyrics are typically cryptic but not trivial and Editors have ensured that every song is a potential anthem that crowds and festivals all over will croon along to. The rhythm section is tight and disciplined but doesnt take a back seat; often choosing to be the twist in song's like 'Distance' and 'Blood'. Then of course, there's 'that' guitar which makes each song an Editors song and partially what makes the Editors' songs appealing to the New Wave devotees.
So it ticks all the boxes right? Maybe, but 'The Back Room' is far from a perfect work. There are many postive points to be taken from the songs here, but something doesn't feel right throughout. It only takes two listens to notice certain things. Firstly, you realise that 'that' guitar is same Chameleons-esque chime that appears behind - every - song and in a similar fashion in each case. By the time of 'Someone Says' its getting a bit weary and is perhaps the sound a talent not being stretched. 'Open Your Arms' benefits here from trying something different, but the accessible sensibility of 'The Back Room' feels as much a burden as an asset. Secondly, in a similar vein, I got the impression that Ediotrs were getting a bit too involved with their own sound and whilst these songs work well on their own, sometimes it just didn't work as an album.
But this is no major problem. Despite being up to my waist in the second wave of post-punk, the truth is that three or four years ago I would have killed for a band like Editors. Whilst 'The Back Room' might not be as accomplished as an album as some debuts, it is still a pleasure to listen to and is a success. You can never have too many good bands and hey, songs like 'Munich' could teach even Interpol a thing or two. Whether it is plagarism or not is up to you, I reckon its just more good songs from another promising band.