'In this light, and on this evening, London's become the most beautiful thing I've seen." So opines Tom Smith in the opening track to the new Editor's album. We know because we've just stood on top of Primrose Hill with him and his band looking out on the never disappointing vista of the capital.
Yes, it's a Google Street View mashup to promote the new, and supremely Londony, album. Here's the deal. The new songs are scattered around London in places not normally accessible to Street View - on hills, in graveyards and under arches. After locating the hidden locations using a facile radar system, you're pulled into a nocturnal panorama populated by members of the band in fancy dress. Fancy black dress, of course. If you've ever heard an Editors album, you'll know that melancholy is the watchword. These guys are never going to release covers of Happy Talk, say, or Wake Up Boo. Here, they strike a number of surreal poses, with recurring motifs and menacing postures. Not a single smile, though. Come on guys - we'd have been grinning like tomfools if our agent had got us to prance around Bunhill Fields in the middle of the night wearing a (black) cat outfit. Hell, we'd be grinning like tomfools just to have an agent. Some people just don't know they're born.
Each location, we're told, has some significance to the corresponding song. Naturally, most of them are places connected with death - Marble Arch (read Tyburn), a Lambeth churchyard, and the Tower itself.
The interface is not perfect. Occasional technical glitches and curious mistakes with labels (or is that part of some puzzle?) occasionally crop up. But overall, this is a superbly absorbing way to get into a new album. Imagine giving Spotify a carnival mask and a GPS unit and you've got the idea. Some might say that the band are clutching at gimmickry in place of solid music-making but, on a first listen, there's plenty of meat (including a song about such) to entice. Editors just won over a new fan today by going that extra geeky mile.
Phew, guys, I think we just broke the record for longest article about Editors without mentioning Joy Division.