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    Back Room

    Fri, 24 Mar 2006 17:24:49

    Album Reviews: Back Room by Editors

    Interpol fans have likely heard the question countless times over the past few months: "So, hey, did you hear that new Interpol song?" Then the Interpol fan has to explain that, no, that's actually a band called She Wants Revenge, and they're terrible. And now: No, that's actually a band called Editors, and yeah, I guess they do sound like Interpol.

    And they do. Editors sound way more like Interpol than Interpol sound like Joy Division. Editors frontman Tom Smith also sounds like he studied Ian Curtis more closely than Interpol's Paul Banks. Correspondingly, perhaps, there's a fair amount of The Back Room that feels too dated, derivative, or downright clunky. Moody pieces like the closer "Distance" drift off to nowhere, heavy on ambience but light on substance.

    But now the surprise: Editors aren't terrible. In fact, during the opening three songs of The Back Room, they are a potent force. After that, there are some scattered compelling riffs and melodies on songs, like on the frantic "Bullets," but it never nearly regains full strength after the momentum-hijacking "Fall," which is a numbing shot of Novocain after the promising adrenaline rush of "Lights," "Munich," and "Blood." Those three tracks have broad appeal, racing ahead with boldness and bite. But on the long, brooding ballads like "Fall," Smith especially sounds stuck at the altar of Curtis and Banks. Later up-tempo tracks like "Bullets" and "Fingers in the Factories," which both highlight some bracing guitar interplay, are marred somewhat by a choppy, short-of-breath delivery on the choruses, but they bear enough promise to suggest that if -- and it's a big if -- Editors find their own niche and abandon the gloomy roads to nowhere, they could make a gem. - Adam McKibbin, The Red Alert

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