10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars
Not Bad, But Not Brilliant Either, 2 July 2013
As a big Editors fan (I own all their albums and have listened to a number of B-sides by the band), i must say i'm slightly disappointed by this album. Not because it's bad, but because it's not as good as it should be.
The album starts of great. "The Weight" delivers a stunning introduction which i believed signaled the start of a powerful and consistently brilliant new album. The lyrics are as dark and meaningful as ever and are reinforced by Tom Smiths haunting voice. The whole song comes together perfectly with a combination of gentle guitar rhythms which are soon contrasted throughout the song by an incredibly talented orchestra who really captivate that Editors gloom.
The Album then moves onto "Sugar", which in my opinion is one of the strongest songs on the album. For this, the band adopt heavily distorted guitars, a strong backing drum beat as well as soft piano and guitar harmonies. All of this comes together to form an amazing song which builds and builds until it reaches a loud crescendo of vibrant guitars that seem to break out from the restraint of the seemingly calm and collected first minute or so of the song. Toms lyrics in the song are well crafted, but maybe not as powerful as previous songs such as "The Racing Rats" and "Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors". The delivery also comes across as quite lackluster at times and can sometimes fall dangerously close to the verge of becoming a drone..
"The Weight of Your Love" is another one of the albums highlights which sees the band take a rather cheery detour from their usual dark melodies and Toms gloomy lyrics. "The Weight of Your Love" is an incredibly guitar heavy fast paced song which appears to be highly reminiscent of U2's earlier style of music. Thats not a bad thing, but ultimately the track feels like it's missing a key element which i just can't seem to put my finger on yet.
Sadly after this, the quality of each of the songs decreases. "What is This Thing Called Love" is frankly a god-awful song. And it upsets me. I've never really considered the Editors to have a "Terrible Song", but try as i might, i simply can't enjoy the track no matter how much i listen to it. Tom's vocals suddenly go from one end of the scale to the other, losing his trademark, gloomy, deep emotive voice in favour of a cringe inducing, sickly sweet falsetto tone that would seem more at home on a Coldplay, Snow Patrol or even Mariah Carey album. The orchestra returns this time but is less prominent and the electric guitars are ditched in favour of the piano and a gentle drum beat. The song quickly loses momentum and drones on making getting to the end of it feel like a chore.
The album quickly recovers with a strong performance from the band in "Honesty", but then dwindles off again thanks to "Nothing", which happens to be a particularly boring song which goes nowhere. "Formaldehyde" and "Hyena" regain some of the momentum again with strong beats, powerful guitars and a reasonably fast pace, however this is quickly lost again and never recovered thanks to the finishing three songs "Two Hearted Spider", "Phone Book" and "Bird Of Prey" which again struggle to go anywhere, make no attempt to engage the listener and appear to whine and drone on endlessly thanks to a slow and boring. pace.
I'm particularly disappointed with "Two Hearted Spider". After watching the perform the song at Rock Werchter, i was expecting the song to be a loud, balls out rock number which resembled something along the lines of their incredible performance of the song at the festival. However what i listened to was a song which had the distorted guitars, blaring noise and emotive singing from Tom Smith it had originally been gifted with taken out and replaced by a relentlessly slow paced, drab acoustic husk of a song.
The Album is ok. It has some brilliant songs on there, but i can't help but feeling the band has inherited some of that country western vibe from their time in Nashville and attempted to incorporate it into their songs. This style simply isn't compatible with the style of Editors that so many have come to love and appreciate. Even ITLAOTE felt like it still had that Editors vibe to it despite it being a fairly experimental album. But this feels completely different, it doesn't stir or rouse any form of emotion in the listener and at points can become quite tedious to listen to.
I will however, not let the weaker songs get in the way of my enjoyment of a fairly decent album, and will continue to be an avid fan of the band for years to come.
If you were hoping that the Editors would return to the "Back Room" or "Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors" style of making their music, then like me, you may be disappointed with this album. But don't lose faith in the band yet. "Sugar", "The Weight", "Hyena", "Honesty", "A Ton of Love" and "Formaldehyde" all show that the band are still capable of making some quality songs that make easy and enjoyable listening.
EDIT: After listening to the album a few more times, i can safely say that some of the songs on the album have grown on me. It takes a while, but if you sit down and listen to it in a quiet room for a while, you gradually begin to appreciate the style of the songs on there a tad more. My opinion of the album as a whole still hasn't changed and some of the songs still come across as a bit underwhelming, but thankfully they're now more enjoyable to listen to.