On The Office Stereo


Editors

Sep 30 2009 2:23 pm,

4.0

Editors

Editors
‘In This Light And On This Evening’
(Columbia)

There was a point a couple of years ago where Editors seemed destined to become a kind of mini-Coldplay. The Birmingham quartet have always been edgier and more spasmodic than Chris Martin’s blandos bunch, but the ease with which they lured the masses in with big-chorused, emotional sincerity put them on a path to stardom where following one simple rule avoids derailing. That is, don’t fuck with the formula. Having shaken off the pulsating, post-punk of their debut in favour of epic, arena-filling expanse on its inferior follow-up, here, on their third album, they’re expected to do what all commercial success-tasting, testicle-less British guitar bands do - stick with what works. You know, then, how ‘In This Light And On This Evening’ is gonna sound before you press play – giant, shrill guitar licks, Xeroxed versions of ‘Munich’ and ‘Blood’ -  right? RIGHT? Well, press play and – BAM! – an album of wicked, venomous synth-stomps tramples your expectations into the ground.

‘In This Light…’ is not only Editors bravest, boldest step yet, it’s also one of the most astonishing albums of ’09. In a year marked by a disconcerting lack of inventive British guitar bands, Editors aren’t exactly going to save the six-string – it’s not until the caustic groove of ‘You Don’t Know Love’ soars to its climax four tracks in that a guitar can be heard, and even that sounds like its using a Terminator as an effects pedal – but their third album is the sound of a band valiantly refusing to play it safe. Admirable, yes, but the crucial element of ‘In This Light…’’s success is that they display a songcraft and dynamism that some – yup, me - didn’t think possible; ‘Bricks And Mortar’ narco-glides its way through an incessant, krautrock groove and ‘Papillion’ builds upon its Numanoid robotics with imposing, cathedral-sized, synthetic sonics.

A close listen to the lyrics reveals that the nightmarish world Tom Smith sings of isn’t so far from home, either – from the first line onwards, London digs its dirty claws into the dark recesses of Smith’s brain. Maybe nights in with him and Edith aren’t quite as rosy as London Lite would have us believe; indeed, the nearest ‘In This Light…’ gets to a love song is the chorus glueing together the industrial, devilish grind of album highlight ‘Eat Raw Meat = Blood Drool’. That’s not to say Editors’ third album is without heart – conversely, replacing their glacial, guitar-y anthems with synth-heavy soundscapes reveals Editors as a band with true emotional depth. Those smokers outside the hospital doors might just be dreaming of sheep – ‘In This Light…’ shows that androids have feelings too, y’know…

Niall Doherty

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