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4.4 out of 5 stars
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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.
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on 31 July 2005
I'm assuming that you know of the Editors and their masterpieces if you are reading this review, and I truly recommend this. However, are two discs better than one?
Of course they are, as the Editors ambitiously expand and explore their sound, and discover something quite beautiful.
Let You're Good Heart Lead You Home - Heck of a title, heck of a song. They bring the drums right forward to good effect here and give a typical Editors song a whole new direction that is powerful, evocative and ultimately... epic.
You Are Fading - Despite the Yoda inspired lyrics (waiting you are, fading you are), this album takes a dark riff and sprinkle it with high-octave icing and some background chanting to form a tender and evocative (you'll soon get fed up of me using that word) masterpiece.
Crawl Down The Wall - A driving verse and chorus that is enhanced by Tom Smith's semi-snarling, semi-despairing vocals and a fantastic drumming finale.
Colours - Loving and tender with a chorus draped in sweet guitar goodness that "Snow Patrol's spitting games" uses and that is becoming an Editors trademark. This is ended with the most powerful sing-a-long, anthemnic outro ever (I never exaggerate!)
Release - Epic, powerful and driving in a similar way to "Snow Patrol's Run" managed. This is their best song to date and a true sign of their potential, and a true sign that, unlike most, they can live up to it. Why isn't it on the actual album.
Forest Fire - Is it the Bloc Party song that never was? Slightly different direction to normal but the recurring focus on drums that "Cuttings" has and "The Back Room" hasn't, is much appreciated. Subtley builds up into an unassuming crescendo.
All in all, this possibly exceeds their main album's offerings and is well worth the small amount of extra money for six stunning tracks.
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on 14 July 2005
Obvious influences of Joy Division and Echo and the Bunnymen aside, this startling debut proves Editors are no mere 'English Interpol'. Smith's dark and unsettling vocals immediate grab the listener on opener 'Lights', 'if fortune favours the brave, then I am as poor as they come' he broods. This intensity is continued throughout the album, latest single 'blood' is full of contempt; 'blood runs through our veins, thats where the similarity ends'. 'Fall' is heartbreaking and heart-warming at the same time, with the delicate refrain of 'i needed to see this for myself'. It's not all bitter though, second single 'Munich' chime of 'i'm so glad i found this', the spiky guitars and chorus of 'Bullets', as well as 'Fingers in the Factories' pleading line 'keep with me, keep with me' provide anthemic sing-alongs. Its no wonder they have been hailed as the singles band of 2005. The album is not without its flaws 'someone says' is a bit naff with a rather bland chorus that barely resonates above the even duller verse. However with songs like the beautiful 'Camera' and the glorious ethereal closer 'Distance', Editors prove themselves to be top of their game. An album of the year.
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on 17 July 2005
Like Interpol's Turn on the Bright Lights, The Back Room's dark, but danceable melancholy has grabbed hold of me and won't let me go! Getting bummed out has never felt so good. Singles Bullets, Munich and Blood are all incredible, and the standard set so high by these songs is effortlessly maintained throughout the album. Like Munich, tracks like Lights, All Sparks and Fingers In Factories have this strange quality that just makes you want to get up and dance! They would all make fantastic singles. This album has really captured their live sound and energy. Oh and wait till you hear camera!
Editors have really created something that is just as intense and epic as their New York counterparts and are really the first band I've come across who have the potential to knock Interpol off their postpunk throne. Seriously, get their album, catch them live and you'll see why! :)
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on 23 January 2007
The Editors are the best early 80s British new wave band I've heard since ... the early 80s in fact. In "The Back Room" they've created a work that could easily pass for a long lost Kitchens of Distinction album. Any fans of the blessed Kitchens, B-Movie, The Chameleons or The Comsat Angels should snap up a copy of this immediately, as it contains echoes of all those groups. This is as good a recreation of that sound as you could wish for, and will bring the memories flooding back. Anyone looking for the future of popular music will have to wait a little longer.
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on 20 January 2006
The biggest mistake I made in 2005 was turning down a £2 ticket to see The Editors at the Bierkeller, Manchester, in favour of some bird!!! I dont have many regrets but this is certainly one of them. After that episode I didnt want the album to be decent... and just to rub my nose in it, it is. In fact its bloody brilliant.
The standout tracks on this album are fantastic and well beyond standard debut album tracks. 'Blood'is by far my favourite, if only for its opening guitar dance. The chorus of 'Munich' seems to be written by a band that have seen it all and it is difficult to remember sometimes that this band are new and still fairly young. 'All Sparks' and the beautiful 'Bullets' prove that The Editors are no flash in the pan band, who are worthy of any Joy Division comparisons.
Of the remaining tracks 'Camera' has to be my favourite and where Tom Smith can be found at his most haunting. There are some weaker tracks on this album but even then they are very listenable.
If anyone does have a time machine so I could travel back to that cold night in Manchester, please let me know.... But then what doesnt kill you....
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VINE VOICEon 16 October 2005
I purely just bought this album due to hearing one song, "Bullets". It's probably the track of the year in my opinion and the rest of the songs on this album aren't far behind. Editors will be a supporting act on the Franz Ferdinand tour and they will bring a more mature and mellow sound to the concert.
Other songs which really stand out are the stunning " Munich " and " Blood " and the outstanding " All Sparks ". The final track on the album," Distance " has a beautiful chorus and sums up to the listener that they have found a new band that deserve success and deserve to be recognized. They are up in the ranks with the other new bands such as Bloc Party and Arctic Monkeys. Their Interpol-esque sound shows off their riffs and the lead singers vocals are deep and moving. It's a consistent album, with all the tracks showing off a different quality of the band. There are comparisms with them and Interpol and Joy Division but both of those bands were brilliant, and so are Editors.
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on 12 May 2006
"Blood runs through your veins

That's where our similarity ends"

"It breaks when you don't force it

It breaks when you don't try"

These quotes from two Editors' songs on this album light up amongst the various indie band lyrics of 2005.

Tom Smith, the lead singer of the group,retains an enigmatic and commanding presence on the stage and his voice has grown on me since I first heard this album, which marked a place for Editors in 2005's new indie music boom.

My favourite track and single release "All Sparks",has an insistent beat,great guitarwork and a hooky chorus,but it is not a cosy song. Tom Smith's mildly chilling voice binds the whole album together.It's a hard-working vocal style and it makes a big impact on the listener.

These are songs and lyrics to make you think,not "coffee-table" music!and for some reason I can see vague similarities between Tom Smith and namesake Paul Smith(of Maximo Park).Both have an enigmatic aura.Perhaps Paul Smith has a more romantic approach,but there are parallels between the two,to my way of thinking... I'd be interested to see them singing together onstage,as in last year's JD Set in Nashville.

However,that aside,"Bullets",the most intense track on the album,catches the listener's attention with the chorus "you don't need -you don't need this disease,not right now."

It's certainly got a message.

All tracks are intensely atmospheric and each have their own individual stamp and sometimes I can hear acutely hard times in Tom Smith's voice,but that's no barrier to his interpretation.

All eleven tracks are well-constructed and carefully and very cleverly written,with many layers to them.The album is a revelation and the more I listen to these songs,the more I like them.It reminds me of those kaleidoscopes which you look through to see all the tiny coloured shapes,which,when shaken,form different patterns.

Buy this album,if you didn't already last year,and stick with it.The last track "Distance" is almost a tender song.

I'll be very interested to see what the sequel to "The Back Room"will be like,because it will be a very hard act to follow.
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on 4 December 2005
Editors have constructed an excellent debut album,influences come from 80's Joy division and the cure and a sound similar to interpol.This album boasts many good tracks with some that hit you instantly the searing guitars of the bauhaus influenced munich,which has cropped up on the E4 ads.They have an epic sound that is apparent throughout,the slower songs are perfect contradictions to the upbeat ones.Camera is a slowburner but brilliant after repeat listens,bullets is edgy and builds up as track progresses.Their echoey sound comes out on all thier tracks but someone says offers this best.The vocals essential to complement twanging emotional guitar riffs with earth shattering percussion,his vocals are crisp and broad with intelligent lyrics an example would be"There's nothing believable in being honest,so cover your lies up with another promise"taken from track 3 blood.All these factors add up to create a disturbingly beautiful sound that grabs you from the offset.Cynics will say that this album is stolen from previous sounds like Joy division.But this is misconception,as nearly all music is recycled and inspired from others. But when crafted this well its safe to say that editors are going to get the recognition they deserve,and i dont doubt this from happening for one second.You really
need to buy this album it dosent disappoint,but then most classics dont.This question is now ,when and where can i see them live.
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on 13 July 2007
I have never felt compelled to write a review before but all the Joy Division / Ian Curtis references are obviously written by people who've never actually listened to JD. Like many muso reviews, once a bandwagon is launched, no matter how untrue, it gets perpetuated.

Right, that's off the chest, now onto reality. Whilst I utterly reject the JD sound-clone proposition, what this album most definitely is is a slice of 80's nostalgia. The correct parallels to be drawn are The Chameleons and Echo & the Bunnymen plus bands I can hear in my head, but can't remember the name of. Influence is no bad thing in my book and I remember those times fondly as one on the Zoo Records/Smiths side of the street rather than at the make-up stall in Afflecks Palace...

As someone else alluded to, if this album were vinyl it would stay permanently on Side 1 on my turntable. I love tracks 1-6 then press repeat, somewhat of a pity but then only the very greatest have 10 stand-outs on them.

One that needs perseverence (Munich the only instant for me and the reason I bought the album) but rewarding overall.
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