Editors/The Dears /Komakino, The Corn Exchange

Misery rules
Click to follow
The Independent Culture

For a year, the professionally gloomy Editors have been working non-stop, touring Europe, America and Asia, steadily building the framework of an unstoppable rock phenomenon. But, according to the black-clad singer-guitarist Tom Smith, this is the Birmingham quartet's final concert before they begin work on their second album.

It was only a matter of time before a band like Editors came along to tap into Joy Division's mournful legacy, filling a void for the introspective depressives in the fluffy poptastic music scene. But no one could have predicted their rocketing rise. The fastest-selling concert of T on the Fringe's rock line-up, Editors' cunning meld of miserablism and ringing U2-ish bombast has worked a dream. And the Corn Exchange is the perfect post-industrial setting for the monochrome imagery of their hit singles "Bullets", "Munich" and "Blood" from their debut album, The Back Room.

Editors' act is honed to chilled perfection, hooked on chiming early-Edge guitar riffs and a melodic charge reminiscent of Echo and The Bunnymen. Smith has mastered the earnest vocal intonations of the Ians Curtis and McCullough, although his body-hugging, hand-wringing Curtis impression becomes increasingly annoying.

There's no denying Editors' anthemic power but, really, to compare their pop angst to Joy Division's dsytopian visions and unique song structures is like comparing Snakes on a Plane to Crime and Punishment.

The Dears are something else entirely, the Canadian sextet plunging into a set of huge intensity. Despite a muddy mix, it's clear that The Dears are boiling with passion and commitment in a selection of inventive, multilayered songs from their forthcoming album, Gang of Losers.

In "There's No Such Thing as Love" and "Death of All Romance", the two female keyboard players bill and coo repetitive vocal harmonies in a sarcastic kitsch-pop backdrop to the bruising, burnished blaze of the band's combined guitar onslaught and front-man Murray Lightburn's anguished baritone howl.

The Dears' pungent set is imbued with genuine sadness offset by a blast of uplifting soul. The world will love them; I just hope this magnificent, utterly compelling Montreal outfit is ready for it.

Bafflingly, some critics liken The Dears' sound to Brit Pop-era Blur, which is more than a stretch, but the cocky mockney swagger of tonight's opening act Komakino - four larky Derbyshire lads with frantic, angular songs - is as close as you'll get for now. Their excitable vocalist's antics never raise the temperature enough to justify his cringeworthy leap into a rather shocked front row.

Comments