Album Review: The Editors – In This Light and On This Evening

By on Tuesday, 6th October 2009 at 12:00 pm

Editors album coverPractically all music critics (including me!) throw the same band names around when drawing comparisons to Editors‘ music. However, it’s undeniable the quartet have made an aptly parallel transition from their original Joy Division soundscape to a more synthed out, New Order vibe with upcoming record, ‘In This Light and On This Evening’. Last year, the band hinted to fans that a fresh, ‘rawer’ sound cometh. With the new record, Editors have flung themselves almost adamantly into this promise, practically turning their backs on guitars and making heavy use of retro electronica instead.

We are instantly introduced to the band’s icey new wave synths via title track ‘In This Light and On This Evening’. Frontman Tom Smith’s vocals are dulled as he spouts appropriately dark lyrics (“I swear to God, I heard the Earth inhale, moments before, it spat it’s rain down on me”). The song bubbles with angry tension, finally exploding into a crescendo of distorted electro attacks and Morse coded beats come the epic end. Track two, meanwhile, leads us into the ticking drum machine of ‘Bricks and Mortar’. A dark, throbbing bass underlines the beat, while unimaginative 80s synths layer themselves comfortably over the top. The vocals are mundane, and the chorus is no way near thrilling enough to grab hold of the listener. Despite it’s digital squiggles and throttling bass, ‘You Don’t Know Love’ is similarly monotonous and bland, failing to climax into anything special.

Luckily, track three, ‘Papillon’, pulls some decent hooks back into ‘In This Light and On This Evening’. The track’s recurring synth riff is super catchy, while Tom Smith’s dense, deep vocals compliments the glacier-electronica well. Despite it’s intriguing lyrics, (“You are what you eat. You’ll become digested!”), the airy synthetic licks of ‘Like Treasure’ are similarly appealing, and would happily fit on The Horrors’ ‘Primary Colours’ (I’m quite sure the Southend quintet would hate me for that comment).

Continuing with the comparisons, the tight, echoed drums of ‘The Big Exit’ could have quite easily been stolen from Ian Curtis and co. The falsetto vocals amid the track’s chorus make it considerably easier listening, however. The stiff, dark atmosphere of the album is similarly lifted with, erm, ‘Eat Raw Meat = Blood Drool’. The song literally ripples with digital beats, while the bouncy chorus verges on an odd, pop-funk concoction.

While I’m always up for hearing new things from bands’ when it comes to new records, I’d consider criticising Editors for taking their latest sound a step too far. They have gone a little O.T.T with the synths, and while it works in some places (‘Papillon’, ‘In This Light and On This Evening’), it just sounds cliché and reworked in other areas (‘Bricks and Mortar’). Tom Smith’s dense vocals are too, very hard going (I’m trying to resist bringing Interpol into this!). Quite honestly, it’s hard to listen to a whole album of it before he becomes monotonous and irritable. However, the CD is only nine tracks long, and there are some good, worthwhile tunes among it. But, in my opinion, this is certainly not the band’s best work, and I wouldn’t exactly recommend you rush out and purchase it all that soon.

You can, however, pre-order ‘In This Light and On This Evening’ at now The record is released October 12th.

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