Birmingham-based alternative band Editors are in fine form on ‘Formaldehyde’, an anthem-like single off their album ‘The Weight Of Your Love’, after the recent departure of founding member Chris Urbanowicz.
The song starts off syrupy with the opening drums, which are reminiscent of the intro to The Knack’s ‘My Sharona’. The bass is bouncy and lead singer Tom Smith’s vocals have a very listenable, honest quality to them. However, the opening line ‘Would you butcher my love to understand it?’ is bloody sinister (pun intended). In fact, the up-tempo feel of the song is just a ruse for the dark lyrics, which depict holes, smothering and other unpleasant images associated with love. Listeners may then understand why this ‘love song’ is named after a chemical that is considered a cancer risk.
The verses, driven by the Smiths and Joy-Division-esque guitars, are growers. The infectiously catchy chorus then reinforces the fact that I’m such a sucker for songs in A minor. The theme of obsession is evident in the repetition of the song title (again, a carcinogen) and the line ‘never let you go til the end of time’ sung by eerie falsetto backing vocals. The bridge is just as creepy and catchy with its “ooh ooh ooh ooh” hook, chimes and retro synths. However, I can’t help but mentally head-bang and swing an imaginary tambourine to this track.
It’s therefore clear why ‘Formaldehyde’ is a live favourite. It might just be the catchiest song linking love to a carcinogen I’ve ever heard.