Posted by: Nick Walters | November 7, 2009

Editors: In This Light And On This Evening

 

editors-in-this-light

Editors’ debut album, 2005’s The Back Room, was a bass-driven, muscular, exhilirating if not terribly original effort which drew comparisons with Joy Division, Echo and the Bunnymen and other 80’s gloom-merchants. The follow-up, 2007’s An End Has A Start, contained some top tunes (Bones, The Racing Rats, When Anger Shows) but displayed worrying tendencies towards stadium-rock and unneccessary twinges of Coldplay-esque piano. So it’s something of a relief that for this, their third album, Editors have gone all Synth Britannia, ditching guitar riffery almost entirely for stabs and washes of gorgeous synthesisers. Again,  it’s not terribly original – everyone seems to be doffing the cap to 80’s electropop these days (see La Roux) – but it fits Editors’ “dark indie” style like a glove, makes for a better album than An End Has A Start, and shows that the band are willing to experiment.

Opening and title track is a throbbing, brooding affair which explodes welcomingly into a dissonant climax. It’s followed by Bricks and Mortar, the longest track (which I personally would have saved for later on in the album), a pummeling affair with a synth riff I’m sure I’ve heard before, and a doomy refrain of “I hope life is good for you.” It does sound remarkably close to Joy Division,  more ammo for lazy journos to dub Editors “Boy Division.” Ha ha, bet it took ages to think that one up, assholes. Single Papillon is up next, following on in the same style as Bricks and Mortar and this time sounding more than a bit like Gary Numan with a bassline straight off a lost Fall song. Which is all good! It’s only slightly marred by the ridiculous refrain, “It kicks like a sleep twitch.” Three tracks in, and guitars are noticeable by their absence, though Editors’ trademark propulsive basslines are present and correct, and the drumming is excellent;  martial and mechanical, really driving the songs forward.

You Don’t Know Love slows things down, a mournful little tune with a deliciously retro synth bass sound. Lyrics again ridiculous – “you ran with the dead today / With the moles from the CIA” – but they don’t really mar proceedings, and singer Tom Smith has a wonderful voice so it doesn’t matter that much that much of what he sings is bollocks. About half way through comes a guitar riff – the first time guitars come to the fore on the album – and it’s a good one, snaking itself round the synth bass like a thread of silver. Up next is The Big Exit, a weird affair with a throbbling bassline, intermittent drums, odd noises and waves of  synthesised strings. The song builds to a satisfying crescendo and is the centrepiece of the album.

The Boxer isn’t a cover of the Simon and Garfunkel song, thank God, but instead a rather forgettable tune with horrible Peter Gabriel electronic piano. Like Treasure shares its lyrical theme with The Blue Aeroplanes’ Bury Your Love Like Treasure (more coincidence than influence I reckon) and is the song most like something from And End Has A Start, i.e. a trad emo ballad; that said, it’s good, and rather pretty. Eat Raw Meat = Blood Drool is, as can be inferred from the title, the “experimental” track, and is a big, throbbing, pounding hellish mess, which must sound AMAZING live (note: must get to see these chaps live ASAP). Walk The Fleet Road closes the album and is a sweet little coda, but little else, leaving one with a feeling that the album is too short, and wanting more.

Fortunately, there is more – a second CD on the Special Edition entitled Cuttings II; but I haven’t listened to it yet so can’t include it in this review. Anyway In This Light… is itself a fine album and a relief after the worrying tendencies of An End Has A Start. Now if they could only work on those lyrics…

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