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The Back Room is Birmingham indie rockers, The Editors debut album and what an album it is! The album starts with "Lights" with Tom Smith's excellent vocals kicking in, followed by the bass, then the drums, but where The Editors really stand out is lead guitarist Chris Urbanowicz's searing guitar riffs. This is particularly evident in "Munich" and the roles are reversed this time with Chris coming in with another soaring guitar intro followed by Tom Smith's insightful lyrics,e.g."People are fragile things, you should know by now"!
Third track, "Blood" follows in the same vein as Munich but is equally good. Things slow down a bit with the more melodic (but equally good) "Fall" and in the many times I have seen the band live, "Fall" gives the audience a break as they wait for the next guitar anthem to kick in!
The wonderful, "All Sparks" is another sing along favourite and alternates with the haunting, "Camera" which follows with another sparkling vocal from Tom Smith.
The highlight of this album for many will be the epic, "Bullets" which combines the best talents all of the band have together and taken on their own, drums, bass, lead guitar and vocals are all stand out performances. This is another fan favourite and if you have not seen The Editors live yet, you haven't lived.
With "Open Your Arms" and "Distance" the album draws to a rather mellow but satisfying close and although maybe not what you would expect, given the rest of the songs on the album, the closing track just feels right.
All in all a great debut album.
It's almost unreal to think that this album came out over four years ago, such is the regularity I still play this.
Even more amazing is how many re-released singles it took for Editors to finally crack it into the mainstream.
Billed as Joy Division for the modern age, Editors are deserving of billing without comparison. Yes Smith's trance like style is very Ian Curtis like, as are his vocals at times, in terms of music though Editors and Joy Division are totally different.
For a debut album this has to rank up there with the very best. From the anthemic sounds of Lights, Munich and Blood for the openers right through to the atmospheric sounds of Open Your Arms towards the end, Editors provide a range of emotions and a rollercoaster of an audio experience. Whilst their following 2 albums have seen a maturing sound, I would highly recommend any newcomers to try The Back Room before other albums to really enjoy the Editors experience.
Editors - The Back Room (2005)
Producer: Jim Abbiss
Fingers in the Factories
Open Your Arms
Editors are an indie-rock band who formed a little over half a decade ago and came to prominence when they released their debut album, The Back Room, in 2005. The voice of Tom Smith bears more than a passing resemblance to the vocals of Ian Curtis from Joy Division; at times he seems to be mirroring his style flawlessly.
The first third of The Back Room is packed full of energetic and snappy tracks, the shortest being the opening song, Lights. The fluid guitar riffs come towards you in high numbers and each and every one is bustling with character. The chorus is right up my street, "If fortune favours the brave then I am as poor as they come!" There's nothing poor about what Tom Smith has written here and it is truly a heroic way to start the album.
Munich is more of the same - great fun, while retaining a vast amount of attitude. It was the second single released from The Back Room, and again it is the chorus which grabs my attention, "People are fragile things, you should know by now. Be careful what you put them through!" It is a very true statement and I feel that many people, including myself, can identify with that.
The first track to bring a change of tempo is the magnificent Fall. The entire song is structured very well, with multiple melodies colliding cheerily. And while Tom Smith's contribution of vocals is vital to its success, the full band has succeeded in marrying the crystal clear production to the Joy Division-esque atmosphere.
In my opinion All Sparks is so-so. It was the fourth single taken from The Back Room and it's not an untruth to say that it is very similar to Munich. I think it just lacks the element of surprise because 1) Munich is a superior track and 2) it follows Munich's template far too closely. My dear Editors, there's nothing wrong with diversity!
The lack of diversity is soon taken care of though with definitive album highlight, Bullets. It was released as the first single from the album and it really has it all. The devastating introduction isn't the half of it, with violent musicianship from Editors throughout. But it doesn't stop there, because the way in which Tom Smith sings the lyrics - as if he has been smacked by a wet kipper in the cold light of morning - is astonishingly affecting, and it always takes me by surprise, "If something has to give - and it always will... You don't need this disease, no, not right now!"
The longest track on The Back Room is Open Your Arms. Tom Smith plays the role of Slow Balladeer, but unfortunately the song never quite manages to take off. It starts off with rudimentary drum and bass work, but regrettably never evolves into anything worthwhile, and for the first time on the album the band has completely lost my attention.
The closing song, Distance, is different to anything else on The Back Room. Bring in a drum machine and you simply cannot fail people, the 1980's are back, baby! The centrepiece of Distance is the overdubbed vocal harmonies which begin at around the 1 minute mark; they sound so rich and full of life, beckoning you to have another listen. Well, I certainly could not have hoped for a better album closer than this.
In my opinion, The Back Room is a must buy. As far as the musicianship goes it may lack originality (in a few places I thought I actually was listening to Joy Division), but Editors manage to carry it all off with their trademark style and fervour. Add to this the splendid lyrics and voice of Tom Smith and you cannot go far wrong!
Read more reviews at www.danielkempreviews.co.uk
The back Room came out back in 2005. When I first heard the Editors I was quite excited. I really liked there first few releases and thought this was a band I could really get into. This was the bands debut album, so how is it? Did it deliver everything it promised? Let's see:
1. Lights - Nothing to special, not the best opening to an album really. 6/10
2. Munich - This is a really strong song. This is the first Editors song I heard and it was the one that won me over. 'People are fragile things you should know by now' very true! Good song. 9/10
3. Blood - Again not a bad song at all. Lead singer has a very distinctive voice with a really droney kind of sound. But it is quite powerful. 8/10
4. Fall - This song is a little slower. And to be honest it really is just boring. They should stick to upbeat songs! 6/10
5. All Sparks - Another song the band released. A good song, that just gets in your head. 8/10
6. Camera - This has quite a spaced out feel to it. I don't think it works at all, think the band are trying to be too clever with this one! 5/10
7. Fingers In The Factories - More upbeat and back to there best. Not an amazing song, but a good solid album track that I enjoy listening too. Good chorus that really pulses! 8/10
8. Bullets - My favorite and for me the stand out track. Very repetitive words 'you don't need this disease'. Sounds a bit morbid but for me this is a really uplifting song! Just about gets 10/10
9. Someone Says - Again an upbeat song. But it really just sounds like everything else on the album. 7/10
10. Open Your Arms - Another slow boring offering. Sorry nothing else to say about it! 6/10
11. They need a strong finish. They don't deliver. Another song that just has no real substance to it. Poor! 5/10
So overall I have to say I was disapointed by this album. I was expecting a lot more than I got. Have liked some of there singles since from there second album, but because I didn't enjoy this album I never went for the second one. A shame as I feel like this band has so much more to offer.
Would just say it scrapes to a 7/10
he Editors are full of musical confidence and swagger on this album, a wise addition to your record collection. Although their sound has a pronounced 80s vibe (very much like the Interpol album 'Antics' that I had the pleasure of reviewing yesterday), it has a decidely more commercial sound. This, in part, explains the frequent appearance of this group at music festivals and in a certain type of advert.
Opener 'Lights' puts the talents of the band to good use, with huge guitars and a strained, grating vocal contribution. Shifts in the tempo and a range of electronic wizardry help to keep things entertaining and the song seems to be over as soon as it begins. 'Munich' is also a memorable track and a firm favourite among the band's fans - more downbeat, but with a beautiful soundscape. The fifth track 'All Sparks' is my favourite of the album and the group sparkle delivering lyrics that are fairly gloomy in retrospect! 'Bullets' continues the tranch of strong songs presented for your listening pleasure and everything ends on a high note with 'Distance'.
Not exactly a cheerful performance, with the following lyrics from 'Distance' setting the prevailing tone:
'Honey, what got broken
Won't go back together again
So I'll leave this while I can'
Take their advice and put this CD down after the first listening, as repeated plays will leave you down in the dumps. Come back later and appreciate once more what is a well-crafted piece of indie rock and will appear to fans of the band, Interpol, Bloc Party, Joy Division and so on.
Great album. I got this one fairly soon after they brought it out, after hearing a couple of tracks- 'blood' and 'munich'. Since i have loved the editors more and more as they have grown and grown into a superband.
This album is what started the success, and is still keeping it going- they play just as many tracks off this album as they do their new one live, and you can see why- the incredible energy that vibes off this album is stunning. 'fingers in the factories', 'bullets', 'someone says' are all tracks that you can listen to no matter how you feel.
and amongst all this, they manage to show a somewhat emotional side through tracks like 'fall' and 'distance', which help to create a well rounded album, that is just as fun to dip in and out of, as it is to go for a full listen.... i may just do that now!
Editors are one of the most under-rated bands since 2000. 'The Back Room', their debut album, was a combination of Tom Smith's haunting vocals (not dissimilar to the vocals of Robert Smith) with synth instrumentals.
The single "Munich" from the album is brilliant in its simplicity, producing a sound similar to an early Joy Division song. The repetition of certain lines, in particular "you'll speak when your spoken to" adds to the sense of underhand violence present in this song, yet Smith's vocals are so oddly monotonous that the song sounds more melancholic than threatening.
This is continued in 'blood', where the track surrounds a liquid often associated with violence, yet Smith's vocals prevent the song from being a horrific, instead making him seem almost like a poisonous spider which does not understand the pain its causing. This slant on his vocals is one of the things which makes the Editors stand out.
"All Sparks" is the next hit and the most up-tempo song on the album. It has very powerful lyrics, and the high rhythm makes it one of the few songs that is completely effective on a dancefloor in its original form.
The songs have such a unique sound that it is easy to recognise a Editors song. This individuality makes them appeal even more as they don't play upon their status as 'misfits' as some bands do, but instead choose to embrace it and get on with the music.
The album, overall, is so fantastically powerful, from the heavy drums to the sharp, staccato titles of most of the songs on the album. It contains so many hits, that it is immediately worth the asking price, without even mentioning the multiple tracks I haven't mentioned here, such as Bullets, or Open Your Arms. I would recommend this album to anyone who likes the music of Echo and The Bunnymen, Interpol, The Smiths, Joy Division, and The Cure.
What a fantastic album from a fantastic band.
Editors has a knack for linking good beats with rich, ringing guitar riffs, and lovely vocals.
The drums (Ed Lay) really define the sound of this album in my opinion, bringing the songs together with a heart-beat-like sound. Though I have to give praise to the lead singer (Tom Smith) for his beautiful baritone. In such heavy minor-keyed songs, a good many bands fall into whining out notes. Smith's voice is rich, and seems to compliment the songs, not overpower them. I'm glad though, that he hasn't gone into falsetto since this album. Not my favorite moment of the album.
Lyrics are generally simplistic, almost anthem like. Which lent them all the more power. "Bullets" really sticks out in that. The chorus is simply a repeating "you don't need this disease", it's so insistent... as if the narrator needed to persuade himself of this.
Mixing is raw on the guitars, but without too much whine. Which I love. Nothing kills a mood more than a country twang for me. The drums are nice and round sounding, and the cymbals and high hat are lovely and understated. I personally would like to cut some reverb off the vocals though. It's not distracting though.
I'm going to try to convey to you, the reader, the musical excellence of this album. The tracks which I like the most tend to be on the first half. These are the upbeat, fast and energising types, whereas the songs on the second half are slower and more melancholic.
The track 'All Sparks' encapsulates what this album is all about. The message of the song, as I understand it, is that all goodness eventually and inevitably fades away. Your deeds of the past may've been worthy, but what is their purpose now? It highlights, to me, the importance of embracing every moment. The best way to do this is to realise that one day everything will come to an end, including your own life.
As to the musical sounds, I'd say that the style is indy. But I won't liken this album's sound to that of any other band, for I find it to be unique. My Dad says that the lead singer sounds (to what degree I'm not sure) like Morrissey. I don't know (thankfully probably) anything about this Morrissey, but I will tell you that the lead singer of 'Editors' has a highly distinctive and captivating voice. It is a lot deeper and somehow more truthful than others that I've come across, or should I say heard, before.
In short, I find it's the sort of music you can really get into; it makes you want to perform it yourself. I just want to feel as close to the music as I can; and I hope it will make you feel this way too.
Here are some criticisms: some of the tracks aren't as good as the others. But surely this is always going to be the case. There are no other shortcomings.
These are halcyon days for indie bands. With a plethora of first rate acts like The Arctic Monkeys, Hard-Fi and Doves to name but a few, Editors is yet another new group that has made the limelight through a stunning debut album. Released on Kitchenware records, The Back Room is a 11-track set that brims with quality.
It was a friend at work who introduced me to the band's CD and very grateful I am that he did. Editors are Tom Smith (vocals/guitar), Chris Urbanowidz (guitar), Russell Leetch (bass) and Ed Lay (drums). Commonly cited as originating from Birmingham, the members of the band are actually from Stroud (Tom Smith), Nottingham (Chris Urbanowicz) and Ipswich (Ed Lay) whilst bass player Russell Leetch gets the closest to the Second City hailing from Solihull. It was Ed Leech that gets the credit for founding the latest incarnation of Editors, formerly based at the University in Stafford. On graduation from Uni, the four relocated to Birmingham as it was both the nearest big city and the home of their management. Signing to the Newcastle independent label, Kitchenware in 2004, the band embarked on a tour across the country. Debut single Bullets was released in January 2005 followed by Munich in April 2005. Stunning performances at Glastonbury and at the NME / Radio One Stage tents at Reading and Leeds catapulted the band into the centre of music media attention.
Debut album The Back Room was released in the UK in July 2005, entering the charts at Number 13. Bullets was re-released in September 2005. With an ongoing tour schedule across the UK, the bands support continued to swell and supporting the phenomenon, Franz Ferdinand at the close of 2005 saw out the year in style. A re-release of Munich in January gave the band their first Top Ten UK single, The Back Room climbed the charts to reach Number 2 and went platinum in the process. The Back Room has just been released in the US having achieved critical acclaim in the UK. With duelling guitars and songs that deal with depressed subjects like death, disease and doomed love, the band attract the obligatory comparison with seminal acts like The Cure, Echo and The Bunnymen and even Coldplay. For me, the closest influence in todays terms would be a British version of The Bravery with an 80s feel to the music and a synth-laden set of catchy, pop reveries.
Lead singer, Tom Smith sounds like a cross that sits somewhere between a wailing Morrissey, a bass, monotone Dave Vanian of The Damned and the brilliant Ian McCulloch of Echo and the Bunnymen. Theres definitely a downbeat, almost Gothic feel to his voice as he belts out the songs on the album. There are several, significant high points on the set. Lights is a great way to start. With a prominent guitar sound, reverb-heavy single notes and punchy, stinging lyrics, Lights is a bold opener. Oh, if fortune favours the brave/I am as poor as they come/I've got a million things to say/I've got a million things to . You cant help but get hooked on the nagging drum beat and haunting, if economic sentiments of Smiths vocals. As youd maybe expect, the best stuff is all packed into the first few tracks as the album forces itself upon the listener. With a verve and swagger that bodes well for a successful future, the evocative Munich follows with a big chorus and anthemic overtones as the crowd sways to It breaks when you don't force it/It breaks when you don't try/It breaks if you don't force it/It breaks if you don't try. This is clearly the best track on the album with a rhythm and energy thats infectious; Smith may never sound more like Ian McCulloch. If that wasnt enough, Blood completes a trio of fabulously rousing tunes. An essentially simple rhythm line backed by a downbeat but powerful, spiralling vocal, Blood takes off into another reverential chorus Blood runs through your veins/that's where our similarity ends/Blood runs through our veins/Blood runs through your veins/that's where our similarity ends/Blood runs through our veins." If anything, the ending of this track is typical of the abrupt finale for most of the tracks but if Munich is the zenith of the set then Blood runs it a close second.
The album does get a little ponderous in the middle with more melodramatic, slower songs in its centre. "Fall" features listless strumming over spartan bass and drums although All Sparks is a ballad that visits a place that seems reserved for Coldplay these days. Both feature an imploring undertow Juggernauts screaming to a stop/Sound like devils are laughing from "Fall" shows a sensitivity and creative streak that showcases the collective talents of the bands song writing as a whole. In "All Sparks" Smith reverts to a feedback induced Dave Vanian with another notable chorus played out to a potent combo of drums and guitar. Camera is back to Ian McCulloch land with a truly 80s centric ballad backed with a synthesiser sound that reverberates to Smiths baleful cry. There may even be a Roxy Music feel to this one and theres no doubt that Camera is a beautifully reflective song that keeps the mood slow and presumably gives the album its name Look at us through the lens of a camera/does it remove all of our pain?/If we run they'll look in the back room/where we hide all of our feelings.
With a quicker tempo, "Fingers in the Factory" is notable for a stomping chorus, with voice, drums and guitars all hitting staccato notes. This is borderline Doves although probably one of the weaker tracks on the album. Its not a bad track by any means but simply fails to do anything thats not been done before or at least fails to tread water in any memorable way despite another potent chorus done to chopped guitar sounds and a crashing drum beat. "Bullets" spawns spidery guitars and a rock opera set of chords to open; Smith sings You dont need this disease/No, not right now with a repetitive force that gets the message across whilst tinkling guitar lines blend with the chant of the song. Someone Says is back into Dave Vanian/Damned vocal/guitar sounds. The album closes with two ballads, a stark contrast to the abrasive tracks that mirror the rest of the album. "Open Your Arms" is beautiful and anthemic in equal measures whilst also being then longest track at six minutes. Technically the most adept song of the set, Smith reaches new heights in traversing the peaks demanded by the song. Distance closes with a distinctly retro bound, drum machine sound but another haunting journey into the soul. Production on the album is sure-footed with recordings in Lincolnshire and Wolverhampton featuring amongst the locations.
There is an excitement, energy and bravado all of its own with Editors and its quite remarkable that two, such similar sounding bands have come together at a similar time separated by an Ocean and two different versions of the same language. For me, Editors are every bit a British version of The Bravery. If you like retro sounding rock with a strong influence of guitars and a hint of 80s then this will be for you. I cant recommend this band highly enough. You are gonna here a lot more about them!
Thanks for reading
I bought this at Tesco for £9.77. It's available for less at Amazon i.e. £7.99.
More info at www.editorsofficial.com and www.kitchenwarerecords.com
Over the last couple of years the number of new bands to arrive on the British music scene has been an ever increasing number. It wouldnt seem so bad if they were all distinctly average, but the majority are actually really good and its put a big dent in my wallet. A lot of these British bands seem to be releasing their debut albums around the same time and Editors are no exception to this trend. The Back Room is the Birmingham quartets first album and its an album that will win them a number of fans.
Of course like all the other bands about at the moment the likes of NME have chosen to compare them to bands from our past. They have an incredibly retro sound and that has instantly led to comparisons with the likes of Joy Division and The Smiths. For me I think the comparison to The Smiths is way wide of the mark, however there are flashes of Joy Division within each track. Its not enough to be able to levy what seems to be a constant comment about the band, that they are understudies to the 80s band. It is however fair to say that Joy Division were obviously an influence on Editors and it actually seems to have stood them quite well whilst making this album.
There is a part of me that cant help but feel this isnt Editors at their very best and that there is a lot more to come from them. That said there is something about this album that just captivates the senses and draws me quite deeply into it. It is a solid debut album but there does seem to be a bit of scope there for something else. Despite missing that little something that would make this album flawless it is an album the band should be proud of.
Musically it has quite a good blend, with some excellent guitar riffs blended in nicely with well timed percussion sections. The album has a nice pace to it, there are some nice laid back sections and certain tracks are quite chilled. There are also the faster pace tracks, where the 80s influence is in abundance. A few of the albums slower moments can generally send shivers up my back and at other times there are glimpses of some excellent creations. Its these glimpses of excellence that make Editors album such a pleasure to listen to.
Coupled with that are the thoroughly mesmerising vocals from lead singer Tom Smith. His voice is quite powerful and at times itll draw your attention to it and it alone, blanking out the musical element. Its not only his vocals that stand out and the lyrics really seem to have been thought out in some detail. There are certain tracks on the album where the lyrics are so powerful and intriguing that you almost dont notice the missing factor within the music. The main observation I would make regarding Editors and their future is their ability to write a song and its this attribute that will certainly see them go on to bigger and better things.
I would say from a purely personal point that there are two tracks that really got me hooked on this album. The first of these would certainly be All Sparks. From the start of the track there is a separation of the guitars and bass that really hooks you into it. Its then that the vocals kick in and from there I was hooked and just cant stop listening to it. The other is one of the opening tracks, Munich. It starts at quite a fast pace, with the guitar leading nicely into the vocals. This is one of the tracks where I really feel that Smiths vocals and ability to write songs is in evident and this is certainly one of the best tracks on the album.
There arent really any tracks I would say I didnt like, its just that towards the end of the album it seems like there is at least one filler. I still quite like Distance but think if they had been given a little bit longer to put the album together and write material it probably wouldnt have made it onto the final release.
Overall this is a pretty decent album. It is a bit of a throw back to the Manchester and Liverpool music scene of the 80s. There is a little sampling used throughout the album and Editors certainly show signs of big things to come. They probably wont be remembered for their debut album but it is slightly different to most bands about at the moment. If you liked Joy Division or Interpol then I think youll be quite safe with Editors, but expect much better to come from the Birmingham based 4 piece.
Amazon Marketplace: £7.50
Disc #1 Tracklisting
5 All Sparks
7 Fingers In The Factories
9 Someone Says
10 Open Your Arms
Disc #2 Tracklisting
1 Let Your Good Heart Lead You Home
2 You Are Fading
3 Crawl Down the Wall
6 Forest Fire