Editors | The Back Room (Fader)

The Back Room is a well-worn revolution of revival with songs that are flecked with as much hopefulness as despondency. 

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It’s difficult to imagine another album this year that could sound so refreshingly familiar than Editor’s debut The Back Room. Released last summer in the United Kingdom and finally finding its way to U.S. shores, The Back Room is a well-worn revolution of revival, with echoes as much in yesterday as in tomorrow. Many like to wrap Editors under the Interpol banner, but the comparisons have already grown nettlesome, plied to the Birmingham quartet since the single “Bullets” was released overseas early last year. Now that the entire album is finally available to audiences here, similar assessments will once again find their way into many of the reviews. It’s not an alarmingly wrong-headed judgment—after all, the band could have worse references bandied about—but where Interpol succeeds in their fetishistic revivalist personas, Editors inhabit the essence of having grown out of the geographical locales of their predecessors. They don’t have to sound British, because they are, well, British.

American bands have been embezzling from the ’80s English alternative coffers for years, and still when a band like Editors pokes its head up every so often, it’s a prickly and loveable find. It’s easy to draw lines directly back to the subtle elemental roots like Joy Division, Echo & the Bunnymen, and Bahaus instead of lumping Editors in with a cluster of American knockoffs like the Killers and the Bravery. Everyone already knows the Brits do it better, and on The Back Room, Editors shine their bright lights with more intensity than any of the recent class of throwbacks.

The album launches head-on as the first notes hit on the plaintive opener “Lights,” and guitarist/vocalist Tom Smith begins singing, “I still love the light on baby/It keeps me awake but I don’t mind,” and never looks back. Without a breath, “Munich” blares, a darkly laced dance groove pumping with the ringing of Chris Urbanowicz’s magnetic guitar and elegiac sentiments like, “People are fragile things, you should know by now.” “Fingers in the Factories” is an edgy and streetwise melody, framed with the work of bassist Russ Leetch and drummer Ed Lay, the kind of measured cadence that could burn right though the droning clutter of today’s modern rock radio. Other tracks are just as enticing with their catchy choruses, like the flaring “Blood,” and slower tunes such as “Camera” and “Open Your Arms.”

These songs are flecked with as much hopefulness as despondency, and for Editors, this knotted omnibus of collective melancholy has the aching underpinnings to persist, and endure, even after all the others have faded away. This is one debut of resonance.

 

 


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