Editors - The Roundhouse, Chalk Farm, N1

"Enter late, leave early" is how screenwriter William Goldman puts it.

'Editors' entered late with the sound of mature-yet-unpolished 80s trenchcoat rock on the coat tails of Interpol. But since 2005's debut, they haven't yet managed to get much past the starting gate, and don't appear to be making much headway.

Whether they existed before or after the New Yorkers is neither here nor there. And whoever is "bigger" now is academic, as both have bowed commercially to the more jaunty Maximo Park.

So where do Editors sit on the pile of earnest foggy pop? They're no doubt asking themselves that question too. Tonight at the newly refurbished Roundhouse, they probably didn't find the answers they were looking for.

Tom Smith and co look like they're craving chart success - and why not? The clutch of classics from their first album The Back Room dented the Top 40, and tonight remind the assembled why they remained interested for nearly 2 quiet years since their release.

"Lights" and "Munich" are obvious highlights, but the tempo seems a little restrained. And "Sparks" does fine, though the band find themselves shrouded in a peculiar jaundiced lightshow. The sound is good, though the look is a bit, um, uninspired.

And image is important in the music game. Now Tom has grown out his crew-cut, his curls lend the band an air of "Mika-fronting-Franz-Ferdinand" pop charm. Possibly more attractive to young record buyers than the Auschwitz-escapee look they previously sported.

Songs from forthcoming album An End Has A Beginning are given a warm welcome, and Tom asks that we treat them "like old friends". Which is about right - old friends from Suede's 1994 "Dogmanstar". Lyrics about "the skyline in your eye"? Is that how far we've come in 13 years?

But it seems nearer 25 years - as anyone who's heard Echo And The Bunnymen's "Songs To Learn and Sing" can attest. The drums of Pete De Freitas never sounded as good as they do tonight.

Whether it's the curfew, fire regulations, or "showmanship", 'Editors' leave the stage after around 50 minutes. To some surprisingly unimpressed grumbles from the audience. With barely a head of steam going, they mistakenly expect to be given some rousing encouragement for an encore.

They do reappear a few minutes later (obviously sensing the mood has turned from "yes, they're still quite good" to "is this some kind of joke?"). Some mini grand piano chords and a request to "raise the roof" with "the best song we've ever written" falls a little way short of any grand finale the Ian Curtis shape-throwing frontman would have liked.

Should have left earlier, chaps.

Photos: Lorne Thomson

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