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Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Back Room

Posted on Thu, Mar 23, 2006 at 4:00 AM

The Back Room
Label: Kitchenware/Fader
Rated: NONE
WorkNameSort: Back Room, The

At least they're from England – Birmingham, to be exact. Editors are the latest group to cut a convincing swath through the '80s post-punk revival that liberally quotes Joy Division, Echo and the Bunnymen, the Smiths and so on. England's newest hitmakers (the album has raced up the U.K. charts and the band has performed to hundreds of thousands) packed their debut album with stronger hooks than their many U.S. counterparts, from Interpol to My Favorite to Nightmare of You. "Blood" charges from the gate with the paranoiac ecstasy of Joy Division's robotic dance-floor rhythms while singer Tom Smith wallows with a pinch of Morrissey's decadent mope and glee. "Lights" pulses with the grandiose urgency of pure goth. But it's nearly impossible to hear these songs without humming "Hand in Glove" to yourself, and that seems to be the quandary. No matter how strong the songwriting, there doesn't seem to be a way to play this music without it sounding like a tribute band.

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