Editors bassist Russell Leetch is learning firsthand about the dangers of hype.
His British band was heralded as the next best thing with its 2005 debut album, The Back Room. But its recently released follow-up, An End has a Start, was met with a tepid response.
"I think because people have become accustomed to what we sounded like, this one was quite different," says Leetch, calling from a tour stop in Columbus, Ohio.
"We produced it with Jacknife Lee, who obviously worked with Snow Patrol and Bloc Party. And I felt people were kind of thinking we just did this to enter into the mainstream or whatever, not because we wanted to make a big-sounding record with a very good producer. So I think it clouded some people's judgments."
There's no doubt the foursome attacked An End has a Start with the same alternative dynamic, hyper guitars and somber vocals heard on the debut. But Editors also added emotional depth and cacophonic frenzy.
With a foundation rooted in the past (Echo & the Bunnymen, Joy Division, Kitchens of Distinction and Gang of Four) and a sound often compared to a Who's Who of recent hit-and-miss U.K. acts (Hard-Fi, British Sea Power, Franz Ferdinand, et al), Editors appear to be at a crossroads in a career that isn't even five years old.
So far, negative reviews of the new CD have Leetch outwardly questioning whether fans and critics are hoping to reconnect with the past instead of looking to the future.
"I wouldn't really want to revive any of those bands that we get compared to," Leetch says. "They had their time and place. We don't want to be nostalgic. That's a bit boring for us. I think we've taken things and made them exciting to younger people, and actually, it reminds older people of their teenage years. But we look forwards, not backwards."
Looking forward, Leetch hints the band's next effort could even include more electronic influence la, say, Depeche Mode. He's also hoping the future includes breaking in America.
The band is tighter, and, Leetch stresses, the stage performance is brighter. Literally.
"We brought more lights this time," Leetch says, exuding the excitement of a small child opening a birthday present. "I don't know how big of a difference it makes it's not the whole show, but it definitely enhances it a bit. We just love strobes."
If strobe lights represent the current level of success experienced by the Editors, what's next?
"Bubbles are next for the Editors."
Editors with Hot Hot Heat and Louis XIV
935 E. Colfax Ave., Denver
Friday, Feb. 1, 8 p.m.
Tickets: $20, 16-plus;