Ayo Jegede
reviews editor
June 21, 2006
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Editors
The Back Room

Music criticism needs a Protestant Reformation, a rebuttal to its now pathetic religion. I have nothing against creating and supporting monasteries and edifices otherwise dedicated to the supernal influence of music, but I am dead set against the use of those, for lack of a better word, institutions as the only means of adjudication. Soon enough the buildings themselves become God, solely imbued with all the religious power available. Soon enough we ask that all ye who seek good word for thy post-punk album genuflect not at the heavens, but the structure to which it is dedicated. Criticism’s ultimate middleman to pure appreciation is comparison and it’s high time this irksome disposition end.

It’s time to get the fuck out of church.

With a simple and flippant pen stroke so many have already said that The Editors are guilty of idolatry, for they didn’t want to worship at the Church of Interpol or read The Apostle according to Ian Curtis. They’ve been accused of worshipping the lesser god of imitation, told that they’ve denied the Post-punk God because of this and are practicing apostasy. Funnily enough while the list of infractions was being read, few bothered to really consider the music itself. Immediately The Editors were cloaked with British sadness, their emotional range delimited by virtue of location. Their guitars were made stiff, their drumming made mechanical, and their sound dictated before even a note was released.

From ‘Bullets:’ “You don’t need this disease/not right now/If something has to change/then it always does”

From ‘Blood:’ “Blood runs through your veins/that’s where our similarity ends/blood runs through our veins/if there’s hope in your heart/it will flow to every part”

The Editors are only religious in their honesty, nothing more and nothing less. This means songs will range from, yes, the otherwise morose fare (“Fingers in The Factory,” “Fall”) but also to subjects that the band aren’t hesitant to proclaim, like “Bullets” and “Blood,” and also others far more straightforward like “French Disco,” a rallying cry against global malaise. Of course the complexity of the group’s message gets lost in their cadence, as though they can only hope to channel a single spirit. See, The Editors were hyped to be the new thing only in lieu of their predecessors, rather than on their own merits. If you make the same error, then you’ll never understand what makes them so talented.

Listen to The Back Room with novice ears, without the baggage of expectation, and the specter of more popular personalities. Their brand of post-punk undulates with a different vivre and an undeniable emotion. Behind Tom Smith’s seemingly staccato performance lies an eclectic display of tempers and moods, sometimes oscillating fiercely among them (the transition from “Someone Says” to “Open Your Arms” or from “Fingers in the Factory” to “Bullets”) to better demarcate precisely the varied themes. Behind the familiar melodies and arrangements lies further proof of their protean abilities, churning out aggro anthems before slinking down for softer compositions.

I can’t say that they’re not aping on any style, because all art is imitation, all music has already been heard; to say they’re copycats is to tout a vacuous refrain. They differ vastly from their peers on more substantial observation: they take much larger emotional swipes, articulate much broader thematic ideas, and essay for a much more complete artistic entity. In short, they attempt on The Back Room to build a better human being than imitate a faulty God.

Release date: March 21, 2006
Label: Fader Label
Rating: 9.1 / 10

On the web: http://www.editorsofficial.com/
[RMR]