Editors / Echelon – London Barfly

As we prepare to move into the fifth year of the decade, eager eyes are scanning for the next batch of generation definers. Could these two bright young bands stake an early claim?

Wednesday, 1 December 2004

Up until now, Essex four-piece Echelon have been something of a problem child. All the pent up technical brilliance they exude – flooding their set with weird time-signatures and fractured breaks – has blinded the more impatient viewer to the melodic beauty writing underneath songs like their recent Poptones single ‘Plus’, which truly does sound like Chris Martin invading a Radiohead song deemed ‘too weird’ for their last LP. Some of the newer songs they play tonight have some really fantastic moments – not least the tribal breakdown of the finale. ‘Harp Song’ also has a magical guitar riff at the centre of it. Live, they have bags of energy and tons of great hooks to draw together. The only question is, do they really want to?

Birmingham-based Editors deserve to be the latest buzz band on the block, but unlike most they are probably the one group capable of evolving, doing their own thing and becoming something truly unique (hello 22-20s). Formerly known as Snowfield, they’re one of those bands who bask in the beauty of complex simplicity. Their straight up songs boast many a spine-tingling breakdown. You don’t have to think, but if you do there’s a lot of depth here. Guitarist, Chris Urbanowicz, with the tasty John Lennon black and white Rickenbacker, combines the whirring demonics of Interpol with the splintering rhythmics of New Order into a sound that is admittedly very 2004. Of course the basslines are fxcking sordid. Editors have a proper grave-robbing rhythm section. A real masterclass of musicianship.

But where their peers are all egos and on-stage stylists, Editors spark their tunes with immense bursts of emotion. The debut single ‘Bullets’ is the kind of riotous pop nugget that The Libertines have consistently failed to write. Singer and guitarist, Tom Smith, lurches with the heroine chic and sunken cheeks of Ewan McGreggor in Trainspotting (without the smack), and it’s a truly magnetic site. Vocally it’s quite narrative, quite Jam-ish with a real Ian Curtis undercurrent. He seems a little overwhelmed at times. This is a good thing, because if they can stear clear of becoming the ‘next big thing’, Editors could be impressing for a very long time.