There’s ongoing debate over the similarities between their output and certain other bands of the past and present, and it doesn’t matter how much he denies or qualifies it, it’s well nigh impossible not to compare singer Tom Smith to Ians Curtis and McCulloch and Paul Banks.
But the genius of Editors is that they’ve managed to take that brooding nature and throw in the kind of huge anthemic melodies perfect for the mass consumption that Joy Division and Echo And The Bunnymen didn’t quite achieve.
Their sound is dark and troubled, yet also light and infectious. That quality has found them being disregarded by some for being a lesser version of Joy Division or Interpol, but is also why their last two albums found themselves at the top of the charts.
With a confident start of three epics – In This Light And On This Evening, Bullets and An End Has A Start – it becomes clear that their back catalogue is starting to develop depth. The setlist draws from all releases, with The Back Room also mined for Blood, Open Your Arms, Camera and Munich. An End Has A Start is represented by Bones, Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors and The Racing Rats, the latter of which achieves a huge crowd response, incorporating a particularly impressive light show.
In fact, the lighting producer deserves some praise. There’s a valid argument for upping the staging side of the game at the moment; as revenue from the sale of music struggles and more acts turn towards tours and more tours, it’s become important for bands to somehow set themselves apart. As ever, the Hammersmith Apollo’s lighting is top notch and an LED screen behind the band adds some interesting visuals.
As Muse have demonstrated, bands with anthemic stadium material are in the best position to capitalise, and so Editors have almost everything in place. Smith fronts the band well, demonstrating a multi-instrumental ability and a peculiar line in dance moves. With a bit of imagination and some courage they could take things further still and really secure a reputation as a stadium band to be seen.
The talking point of recently released album In This Light And On This Evening was of the shift towards a more synthesized sound. While it doesn’t stand out so much on record, in the surrounds of the Apollo and when juxtaposed against the older tracks, the change becomes obvious. Like Treasure and Bricks And Mortar were obviously third album songs, whether you knew them or not, and the fact that they’ve pulled off a recognisable sonic development is to the band’s credit.
Editors live is a great night. They are supremely tight (special mention to their drummer Ed Lay who impressed throughout) and they deliver what they know their audience wants. They’ve got enough material now to pretty much fill the set with killer tracks. Yet they sound as though they’ve still got more to give, too.