Editors
The Back Room


4.0
excellent

Review

by Davey Boy STAFF
February 10th, 2009 | 35 replies | 4,686 views


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A striking baritone voice… An impressive rhythm section… Sweeping & soaring guitars… It all results in a consistent, excellent & impressive debut.

Every once in a while, a voice comes along that simply demands attention. Tom Smith, lead vocalist of English quartet Editors, has such a voice. His baritone is in itself an instrument, able to sound sophisticated one moment and anguished the next… It is the kind of striking voice which companies would love to have sell their products, such is its power and magnetism.

In a fashion, Smith does indeed have to do some selling on the band’s debut album ‘The Back Room’. This is because the lyrics contained within it are not exactly the most complex you will ever hear. They also occasionally lack depth, resulting in over-repetition, as can be seen on a track such as lead single ‘Bullets’. Yet, it is a credit to the band as a whole that they can still make such a song work.

What is impressive about Smith’s lyrics however is their ability to have key components resonate with listeners one way or another. Take this collection of 4 lines out of the choruses of various tracks as proof of this:

- “If fortune favors the brave, I am as poor as they come”.
- “People are fragile things, you should know by now, be careful what you put them through”.
- “Blood runs through your veins, that’s where our similarity ends”.
- “Look at us through the lens of a camera, does it remove all of our pain”.

Thankfully, Editors are not all about their lead singer though and they prove this on multiple occasions. Trying their darnedest to attract some attention away from Smith are 3 sure to be under-rated musicians, all of whom undoubtedly add their piece of the puzzle to complete a thoroughly satisfying sonic picture. Russell Leetch’s impressive bass-playing works efficiently with Ed Lay’s frequently insistent and propulsive drumming to provide a more than solid rhythm section. Meanwhile, Chis Urbanowicz’s sweeping and soaring guitar playing brings to mind a combination of U2 and Interpol.

On initial listening, ‘The Back Room’ sounds dark, gloomy and depressing. Yet, upon closer inspection it will be discovered that Editors have an uncanny knack of turning such themes into uplifting cuts. Album highlight and 2nd single ‘Munich’ has a strangely contagious chorus to achieve this result, while ‘Fingers in the Factories’ does so with a forceful striking of words, drums and guitar on the same methodical beat. Probably the most accessible song here is 4th single ‘All Sparks’, which almost channels latter-day Coldplay with its super hooky guitar components. Then, beginning with the haunting sounds of ballad ‘Camera’, Editors begin to subtly use synths on the latter half of the album to add some appreciated variety.

Containing an even and consistent grouping of 11 songs, this debut full-length release almost satisfies for its entire duration, with only the final 2 tracks (the 6 minute ‘Open Your Arms’ and the synth-heavy ‘Distance’) struggling to keep up to standard. Ultimately though, this is an impressive and excellent debut from a band of immense potential. If they can now take their many influences apparent on ‘The Back Room’ and shape them more into their own sound, then the world could very well be in the Editor’s hands.

Recommended Tracks: Munich, All Sparks, Fingers in the Factories & Blood.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
February 10th 2009



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This may be my shortest review ever!

Willie
Moderator
February 10th 2009



15877 Comments


You always write good reviews, so I always read them and always pos but our tastes are not very similar so I never have anything to say other than "hey good job!".This Message Edited On 02.10.09

Digging: Emperor - In The Nightside Eclipse - 20th Year Anniversary

MassiveAttack
February 10th 2009



2688 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'm so lazy I admire your consistency in reviewing , great review.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
February 10th 2009



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Well, I still appreciate that Trey, so thanks.
Funnily enough, I've previously thought that our tastes aren't all that dissimilar, but I guess I was comparing you to most of the other metal-lovers around here... At least you branch out a fair bit.
I am truly surprised at the lack of staff ratings for this album, since it was rather hyped (deserved or not) Indie album.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
February 10th 2009



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good to see you still around Marko. After writing a half-dozen reviews in the space of a week and then going missing, I thought you'd flown the coop.
Thanks for the compliments.

Willie
Moderator
February 10th 2009



15877 Comments


Funnily enough, I've previously thought that our tastes aren't all that dissimilar, but I guess I was comparing you to most of the other metal-lovers around here... At least you branch out a fair bit.
I do branch out quite a bit, and we do have an area where both our tastes intersect, but the things you review seem to be things I have never heard.

marksellsuswallets
February 10th 2009



4848 Comments


I much prefer Interpol to these guys, just throwing that out there.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
February 10th 2009



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Trey, part of me reviewing stuff you have never heard is because I for the most part attempt to add to the Sputnik database. Although, I agree about our tastes intersecting to some extent.
Brent, I'm the other way. While I like Interpol, I find them hit & miss and their debut is just too indie for my liking.
By the way, you made my first prediction (read: Interpol comparison) for the comments to this review correct. Will the 2nd component appear? Hmmm.

klap
Staff Reviewer
February 10th 2009



10258 Comments


Sweet review, although I didn't care too much for this one. The only baritone for me is the National haha

Digging: The Bilinda Butchers - Heaven

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
February 10th 2009



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks Rudy. I've never really had the chance to give The National a proper listen. Forgive my lack of knowledge, but are they actually similar to Editors?

klap
Staff Reviewer
February 10th 2009



10258 Comments


No I'd say the Editors are much more Interpol-ish; the National are more Americana-based, however vague that might seem. Check out the first couple songs off Alligator and tell me what you think; the singer's vocals are similar though.

Kiran
Emeritus
February 10th 2009



6000 Comments


The only thing The National and Editors really have in common is the baritone. I have An End Has A Start and was a bit disappointed. It was really hit or miss. I've considered looking into this but after An End Has A Start I've not been too keen. I did like the review though!

Digging: Spoon - They Want My Soul

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
February 10th 2009



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Righteo, well I like Smith's vocals here so I should definitely give The National a listen.
Thanks on the review Kirgasm. In a sense, Editors have another similarity to Interpol in that both of their debut albums were more even but arguably without great standouts, where-as their follow-ups (An End Has A Start & Antics) are both more hit & miss but the standout tracks may be the best individual ones they have made in their careers.

Knott-
Emeritus
February 10th 2009



10194 Comments


yeah i have a huuuuge soft spot for this album, it's pretty damn beautiful. Blood and Camera are just brilliant. great review davaaaay

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
February 10th 2009



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks Adaaaaaaaam. Good to see someone else likes this album as much as I do. Unfortunately, the very good 'Blood' was a casualty of my attempt to write a shorter than usual review this time around. As for 'Camera', well Tom really nails his vocals on that track... Haunting stuff.

Knott-
Emeritus
February 10th 2009



10194 Comments


Yeah. It's weird really because I think as an album I like AEHAS better, which is just strange because I don't think it's as good an album objectively. It probably has something to do with AEHAS being the soundtrack to my last family holiday as a kid, speeding down Menorcan highways with the wind in my hair. Strangely calming, I got totally lost that week. Yeah that probably has something to do with it.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
February 10th 2009



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, that does sound weird because you're almost contradicting yourself... But albums can often be personal, even if it was when you listened to it most.
Giving a little away for my upcoming review of AEHAS on the weekend, I find the 2 albums very difficult to split. They are different in that this debut is more consistent, but man did the singles & one or two other cuts from AEHAS win me over.
I definitely think AEHAS is more accessible & probably a better place to start for more mainstream leaning listeners, that's for certain.

gaslightanthem
February 10th 2009



5209 Comments


i'm not really a huge fan of the editors but they're okay, got some catchy songs. good review davey

Kiran
Emeritus
February 10th 2009



6000 Comments


Righteo, well I like Smith's vocals here so I should definitely give The National a listen.

You should definitely give The National a listen. They're one of my favourite bands
Also, about AEHAS, a few of the songs were excellent (Smokers Outside Hospital Doors being my favourite) but it was just way too inconsistent.

Spamue1G
February 10th 2009



1292 Comments


I heard one of the singles off this, and it was one of the dullest, most lifeless things I heard all of last year, but good job on the review, as if I needed to say that



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