There is simply no way to discuss Editors without mentioning the band’s uncanny resemblance to legendary post-punkers Joy Division in terms of vocals and music, if not lyrical themes. Don’t let the suggestion that Editors is a Joy Division tribute band turn you away from checking out their debut album, The Back Room. If you are a fan of Joy Division, then you’ll appreciate the Ian Curtis-ish vocals of Tom Smith as well as the dark gothscapes that the band creates while still sending you through eleven hook-filled, danceable tracks. Comparisons to Interpol are apt as well.
The Back Room is one of the most consistent albums I’ve heard all year. Practically every song is driven by a strong guitar presence that is at times U2-like in terms of icy guitar riffs per song. The percussion’s determined beat ensures that the band doesn’t sit around lazily navigating through the songs.
Of the eleven songs on the album, seven are the fast, guitar-driven variety, while the remaining four slow things down and rely more on Smith’s vocals to carry the track. The juxtaposition of the slow and fast songs makes for a versatile, complete album with better than average lyrics to boot.
“Blood” is an-impossible-not-to-like rocker with an unmistakable goth hook and the damning lyrics, “Blood runs through our veins/That’s where the similarity ends”. It’s my favorite track on the album.
“Munich”, the first single from the album, employs, as many of the tracks do, a dominant angular guitar line and dense drumming.
“All Sparks” follows a similar ethos, but this time the guitars run up and down the register and the drums chase the line for the duration. Smith tells us that “All sparks with burn out…in the end.” It’s another instantly catchy song that is highly danceable. “Fingers In The Factories” and “Bullets” are two more standout tracks among the fast tracks on the album.
“You Are Fading”, “Open Your Arms” and “Camera” all provide Smith and Co. the opportunity to slow things down. The instrumentation is largely sparse, proving that the band doesn’t need to blow your doors off to get their point across in song. Where Editors set themselves apart from the gaggle of sadsack Joy Division wannabes is that they create a anthemic sense of urgency with their arrangements, and the lyrics seem to have been written on something more substantial than a couple sheets of toilet paper.
A superficial look at a press photo of the band, or a bad review from some asshole who thinks that moody dance music should have died when Ian Curtis did should not deter anyone from giving Editors the 43 minutes it takes to realize how good this album really is.