Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Birmingham Lads Barter Joy Division, Interpol for . . . Coldplay?!

"Smokers Outside Hospital Doors"

In 2005, Editors launched themselves into the writhing waters of Brit pop culture with their debut album In the Back Room. Their frenetic, pulsating rhythms caught the nation's attention, and they rode and eventually conquered the fickle wave of fame, earning both a No. 2 place on British charts and a Mercury Prize nomination in early 2006.

The post-punk-tinged rockers are back with their first single, "Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors," off their upcoming album, An End Has a Start.

"Smokers" opens almost too perfectly: the stark drum intro combined with Tom Smith's morbid, cracking vocals instantly take the listener back to the brilliance of In the Back Room. And, well, that's where the good stuff ends.

The song settles into a languid, leading-up-to-the-chorus pace which is more dull than it is painful. So when the pain of the cliched, overwrought chorus strikes you in the gut, remember fondly the boredom of earlier verses. At this point, fans of their debut album will be wondering where these Coldplay-idolizing imposters have hidden the real members of Editors.

Things only get worse during the bridge with saccharine lyrics that sound as if they should be coming out of Oprah's mouth and not Tom Smith's. We've all been changed/from what we were/our broken parts/left smashed off the floor. Sorry about your internal anguish, Tom, but that's hardly an excuse for spreading the anguish to others via dumbed-down, armchair philosopher lyrics.

The ending burgeons to bombastic proportions, this time with support from what sounds like an entire choir whose job is to repeat the cringe-inducing "We've all been changed" refrain over and over until listeners, weak and dizzy from the prolonged cringing, slump to the floor unconscious. With any luck, listeners will have suffered acute amnesia, thus wiping away all traces of the offending ballad . . .

The problem with this lazily-wending epic is that Editors do not sound like Editors – they sound like Editors covering Coldplay. And cookie cutter brit pop is most decidedly a step back in the band's evolution. Hopefully, this is an anomaly and not a harbinger of sounds to come for Editors. Even so, the song is merely mediocre; a colossal disappointment for Editors, to be sure, but better than most of the shit being played on radio stations today.


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