Editors, ¬°Forward, Russia!, The Priory
Alex Worsnip 09/08/2005
Sometimes something is said continuously about a band because it gets coined early in their career and lazy journalists can't be bothered to think up anything else to say. And other times it is said because it is just overwhelmingly true. In the case of Editors being a poor man's Interpol, the latter is undoubtedly the case. Yes, there we go - we've mentioned them already. The collection of fans (Editors have quickly amassed a surprisingly devoted fanbase already) here at the Scala tonight are, accordingly, exactly the kind of people you'd expect to find at an Interpol gig - there's even some Interpol t-shirts - but they don't seem to care, as their heroes (such a tag seems truly perverse for a band that is playing, in the nicest possible way, what is essentially third-hand music) play what they see as an undeniably barnstorming show. But for this reviewer it's the support bands that make this evening truly worthwhile.
First up are Wolverhampton natives The Priory, whose lager lout skinhead image belies some creative and complex music. A slightly progged-up electronic rock outfit, their thick wash of keyboards and crackling guitars recalls everyone from Oceansize to Six By Seven, with elements of Underworld thrown in. They throw themselves into passionate music, with the keyboardist coming closer than most to making his Korg look like an instrument that can be played in a genuinely rock n roll style. The music is heavily groove-based and, had there been a more devoted crowd, could have without a doubt inspired some (albeit indie) dancing. Complex musicianship ensures that the sound is always interesting and the songcraft is generally good, though the numbers do vary in quality somewhat.
Next are °Forward, Russia!, who offer up a hipper-than-thou blend of punk-funk and hardcore, an intriguing combination which works incredibly well. Superb musicianship, especially drumming, which holds the complex array of time signatures and rhythms together (at times it strays towards math-rock), is capped off by utterly mad vocals that balance chaos and craft pretty carefully. Despite slightly pretentious touches, like the fact that all their songs are just numbers, presumably in the order they wrote them, they have tunes at the heart of the melee, and are better live than on record, where somehow they sound less original and perhaps more muted. Quite rightly, they are gaining fans, including Steve Lamacq, who I spot in the audience tonight (he's disappeared by Editors - a man of good taste).
Oh, what can I say, what can I say? Editors are not a terrible band. Recent single 'Blood' and one or two others tracks like 'Lights' show they can string together a song, and it's an attractive kind of sound, with tight, careful instrumentation, but I've clearly heard this sound before. Worse, whereas you-know-what-other-band sound utterly effective in their regimented, cold, controlled angst, Editors do angst in a more conventional, sixth form kind of way - at times they veer towards the sound of Placebo (though, obviously, not fronted by Brian Molko). Quite frankly, it's not that this music disgusts me, it's just that it bores me. I want to sit down during this gig; I'm interested in my drink; I notice the people around me - I should be forgetting these things and mesmerized by four young gods on stage. Unfortunately, they seem too mesmerized by their own gods to pass it on to the impartial observer just yet.