Zachary Cole Smith has overcome a multitude of problems to make this intensely powerful album
Editors: Parr Hall, Warrington, Tuesday May 22
After years of Editors being compared to Interpol, Mark Beaumont declares war. And then some…
Because Editors have overturned all scientific rules of Scene Dynamics – they jumped the doom rock bandwagon disguised crudely as Interpol With Tunes; now they’ve barged their way into the saddle and they’re wrestling control of the reins. A bit like if Hurricane #1 had come up with ‘Wonderwall’ first. Tonight they attack Warrington raging, Tom Smith scratching the air and clutching at his Mad Professor hair as his band blaze out the Three Bs – ‘Bones’, ‘Bullets’ and ‘Blood’ – with all the moody majesty of a menstruating Elizabeth II. He crouches by his mic stand, then leaps out at his bandmates like his guitar is dragging him around the stage like a rabid Labrador or Rod Hull’s emu. He mimes vocal vomit, as if literally pushing the words out of his mouth as he sings them. He is, word has it, one of the secret nutters.
Let’s face it, it takes someone with a fair amount of the Matt Bellamys about them to describe their new material as being about “the uplifting side of death”: you might as well write a record about the slapstick side of international terrorism. Yet, waddayaknow, it does indeed sound like Death dancing. The aforementioned ‘Bones’ is Echo & The Bunnymen stood screaming in a hail of hand grenades. ‘Escape The Nest’ is as intense as a sledgehammer assault, with Tom seemingly giving birth to a mini Morrissey out of his larynx. ‘Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors’ is Coldplay being mugged on a Berlin skinhead estate and ‘The Weight Of The World’ is their ‘Fix You’, all piano mournfulness, filthy Wall Of Sound shudderbeats and guitars like an F1-11 jetstream.
It’s music full of images of crashing planes, wired-up jaws and lost souls pacing the cancer wards, yet it’s chest-bursting, soul-soaring stuff; ‘The Racing Rats’ even manages to twist itself from a Ringo-esque piano plonk into something that feels like you’re watching a fire-breathing mariachi band marching into the gates of hell while Beelzebub himself blasts you in the face with a brimstone flamethrower. And Tom tries to chew off the top of his microphone. Did we mention he’s a bit mad?
With such skull-rupturingly huge new songs demolishing municipal buildings with every chord all over the shop, the ‘Back Room’ tunes come almost as light relief. ‘All Sparks’ and ‘Munich’ itch and squirm while the B-side ‘You Are Fading’ sees the mixing desk set to Grand Canyon and simply soars. Sensational.
Watching Editors make their comeback tonight is like being in the sun screening room from Sunshine at 100 per cent exposure; awesome in the true sense of the word. Most comeback gigs swing between familiarity (of the old songs) and endurance (of the new ones), this one races from familiarity to nailed-to-the-back-wall-by-a-hail-of-razorfire-guitar-scree wonder. As a final, ‘Fingers In The Factories’ pounds us out of our elated senses, Mad Tom mimes tearing the roof off the Parr Hall. Warrington duly obliges. Wake up Interpol, you’re dead: Editors just turned up the bright lights.
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