Editors - Birmingham Academy

Birmingham-centred band Editors have been (lazily) compared to the likes of Interpol and Joy Division. There are obviously worse comparisons. However, neither band is renowned for a happy-go-lucky pop tune - gloom rock is more the order of the day. Are Editors set to follow in the same melancholic vein? From the opening refrain of Lights, it's clear that hope tinges the swooping guitar backdrops this band provide.

Frontman Tom Smith comes from the Chris Martin/Michael Stipe school of showmanship, twisting and contorting like he has ants in his boxers when he's not (sometimes during) singing. This doesn't distract from his truly potent voice, perhaps the band's most significant attribute and the most striking thing about their live performance. In this respect, Chris Martin has nothing on Mr Smith, his vocals weedy in comparison to the rich baritone showcased here. The other band members fade into the background somewhat but the overall sound is very much that of a tight unit who know their songs inside out.

The highlights of the evening aren't all that surprising for anyone who owns the album. The singles are undoubtedly the best tracks on their debut The Back Room and so it is in a live venue, the flawless Bullets taking the up-for-it crowd on a euphoric ride of crashing guitars for its three minute duration. Munich probably draws the biggest cheers of the night, and Blood is suitably brooding. The remainder of the set is solid but a couple of the ballads feel like treading water before the next big chorus. In fact, for all the press they've received claiming them to be Coldplay-esque, Editors prove they are most effective when they up the tempo, as proved by the frantic encore double bill of Someone Says and Fingers in the Factories. The only standout slowed-down moment is Camera, perhaps the only track on the album that outperforms the singles, a truly amazing epic where Tom swaps his guitar for an organ. If they continue to produce songs as melodic and sweeping as this then they will undoubtedly become a permanent fixture on the ever-expanding British rock scene.

Category Gig Review

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