Friday, January 22nd, 2010
Bricks And Mortar
Review of Editors’ In This Light And On This Evening
Kevin WestebergThe first thing to keep in mind when listening to Editors is that they’re patently ridiculous. Their grandiose, hyper-dramatic Brit-rock may not be as over-the-top absurd as, say, Muse, say, but it does trend along those same lines. Throw in frontman Tom Smith’s gift for crafting nonsensical lyrics and delivering them as with an earnest, clenched-teeth intensity, and if you’re able to reconcile that before sitting down for a listen – and I, despite my better judgment, find that I can – then you’re fine.
While their debut The Back Room was decidedly lean post-rock, the follow-up An End Has A Start took a more widescreen, anthemic approach, upping the ante in dynamics, sonic scope and melodramatics. Both records, however, were built firmly on a foundation of guitars and that makes their third record In This Light And On This Evening, with its massive banks of synthesiszers lifted from the goth and New Wave movements of the late ’70s and early ’80s and buffed to a 21st century sheen, something of a departure. But only something. As the title track and lead single “Papillon” prove, Editors can be just as visceral and thrilling pounding on plastic keys as wrangling guitar strings, but when they fall into a more ponderous, mid-tempo groove as they do on the second half of the record, the results are less engaging and their weak points aren’t sufficiently masked by their strengths.
Editors make easy critical targets for the reasons stated above and many others, and people generally aren’t shy about taking those shots. But they deserve credit for being good at what they do and yet be willing to completely screw with their formula – that the results aren’t an unqualified triumph almost makes the effort more noble. That said, they’d do well to bust out the guitars again for album number four. I think everyone will be happier that way.
PopMatters has an interview with guitarist Chris Urbanowicz while Flavorwire and Filter chat with drummer Ed Lay. In This Light And On This Evening was released in North America this week, three months after the UK release. It’s currently available to stream over at Spinner, but only the album itself – not the five bonus tracks which have been collectively dubbed Cuttings II and are supposed to be appended to the North America release. They play the Phoenix on February 16.
Another British recipient of a delayed release is Little Boots, whose debut Hands will be available over here domestically come March 2. She’s booked a much fuller North American tour than the one that brought her to Wrongbar in September and it includes a date at The Phoenix on April 30, with Dragonette supporting.
And if Under The Radar reports that the release dates for Laura Marling’s I Speak Because I Can have been moved around a bit from initial announcements, and will now be out in North America on April 6, a couple weeks after its March 22 UK release date. She plays Lee’s Palace on February 9. NME has had a listen and offers up some track-by-track impressions.
A pleasant surprise from Tuesday Guide yesterday, noting that Elbow’s glorious The Seldom Seen Kid Live At Abbey Road collaboration with the BBC Concert Orchestra – previously only available in the UK and thus as a PAL/Region-2 DVD – has been released in North America with an NTSC/Region-free DVD. Not cheap, but cheaper than buying the UK version and you can actually watch it here!
Mogwai Special Moves is a website dedicated to the forthcoming Mogwai live film Burning and a live MP3 of “2 Wrongs Make 1 Right” can be had in exchange for your email address. Prefix has details on the CD/DVD/3LP live album entitled, appropriately, Special Moves, coming out sometime this Spring.
Rolling Stone gathers up the latest bits and bobs of news from camp Radiohead, but not including this video interview with Ed O’Brien at Midem where he talks about the problems the band had whilst making In Rainbows.
Video: The xx – “VCR”