Britain’s equivalent of New York’s misery merchants Interpol, they were, as expected, a forboding entity.
Date: October 23, 2009
Venue: Rock City
It’s not a criticism, but the ominous sense of gloom which Editors so eloquently emit is overwhelmingly apparent this evening. But it’s their darkness which many find so alluring, steadfastly affirmed by the sell-out crowd.
They bequeath a satisfying blanket of eerie-yet-mesmerizing soundscapes, indebted to the doomy titans of early ’80s post-punk.
They’re usually pinned down as the British equivalent of New York glumsters Interpol, but a more pertinent observation as to their moody lineage would be to join the dots between the epic ’80s doommongers The Cure and Joy Division, maybe deviating slightly to align Echo and The Bunnymen, too.
But there’s more doom-rock gunpowder in the Editors’ cannon these days, particularly in the live arena, where anthemic songs like Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors and An End Has A Start prove unequivocally that they’re not just post-punk copyists, and they themselves are fast becoming a band whom other bands cite as an influence.
Tom Smith’s somnolent, almost baritone-esque voice is too rich for some, particularly on the slower tracks which linger a little longer than they’re perhaps welcome, but when he’s on fire, itching with dark electricity, he embodies the ghost of Ian Curtis, rippling with spasms of post-punk guitar noise and flinging his skinny frame around the drum riser like a tormented entity.
But when he’s calm and hunched over his keyboard, oscillating madly, there’s raw pathos in their music, and us Brits just love a bit of depression to re-stoke the anguished emotion which lays dormant in our veins. Afterall, a bit of misery is good for the soul.
And if you like your misery intensely sonorous then songs from their new record will appease your caliginous lust, as unrestrained despair laps at your senses to leave you slightly depressed yet strangely happy.
Because while the latest single Papillion floats like the malevolent spirit of Depeche Mode with its icy ’80s synths forming the perfect foil for Tom’s pessimistic lyrics, the majority of the new album tracks we hear crawl like some monstrous creature lurking in the gloaming, looming with a foreboding intent. They’re poignant and stirring, and very uncomfortable.
Only Eat Raw Meat = Blood Drool, with its lyrical reminders spelled out in neon on the backdrop, can rival Papillon in the ‘Best Of The Newies’ stakes.
Thankfully, they have Bullets in their gun. And Munich. And The Racing Rats, all with their rapier-like guitar jabs. These songs are free from the oppressive stifling of the new stuff, and serve as a reminder of how enormous their sound can be when unleashed.
As ever, Tom’s voice is fraught with emotive power, none more so on the gushing Fall, which illustrates his resounding baritone superbly.
And then, as the Rock City lights pierce the darkness, it’s over. We’re left with a sense of deep melancholy; a feeling of inner sadness which weirdly manifests as contentment. It’s a confusing mix. But that’s Editors for you: they’re not exactly fun, but Lord are they affecting.