Friday 2 August 2013

Editors' Turning Point

On their last album In This Light and on This Evening Editors changed their sound drastically. It took a lot of courage to move this far away from the successful direction of earlier work. While working on a new album the band couldn't agree on the direction to follow for new work. Guitar player Chris Urbanowitz left the band and the remaining members were questioning the existence of Editors. For the planned shows they called in the help of Justin Lockey and Elliott Williams. At the headlining slot on the Rock Werchter festival in 2012 things fell into place and the band sparked new creativity from it. The result is the new album The Weight of Your Love.

Editors - The Weight of Your Love (Ronald Says 7 out of 10)

A short documentary about the process that lead the band out of their crisis and to the new album reveals that they were after a more American sound. That sure worked out. Everything sounds big on this record. Synths have moved to the background and guitars are more prominent again. Instead heavy string arrangements made it into their sound. Like on their previous record this takes some time to get used to. Again they are asking their fans to be patient and let the record slowly work its way into their system. And again with a lot of courage they are taking their chances. Singer Tom Smith sometimes leaves his impressive thundering bariton for what it is and instead is singing higher phrases or even a song almost entirely in falsetto ('What Is This Thing Called Love'). He does get away with it and proves what a versatile singer he is. Although he does seem to be out of his comfort zone a bit.

This record definitely needs to grow on you, getting used to the new sound. It has less Joy Division darkness, but more Echo & The Bunnymen, U2 and Simple Minds. It's a lighter version of Editors, but don't expect any shiny happy songs. First single 'A Ton Of Love' immediately reveals the new direction. An overwhelming wall of sound with no room for subtleties and Smith shouting "desire" on top of his longs. It is characteristic for this new sound and already proved to go down well with huge festival crowds. But still there's also room for more intimate songs like 'Nothing' and 'The Phone Book'. These are good songs, well written, nice melodies, that even hold when stripped to the bare core as shown in acoustic versions. However the album also has its weak moments. 'Sugar' and 'Hyena' are not so great and would they have made one of the earlier albums?.

In the end the record leaves you with mixed feelings. Is the new sound the right direction for the band? I don't think it is in this shape. Since The Weight of your Love may just well be the least of their four albums. It may prove to be a crucial album though. The one where they found the new meaning, motivation and purpose of the band. I don't think the transition that the change in line-up caused is completely over. Many shows on the road need to re-establish the balance in the group and at the same time spawn new ideas. I'm sure that this will pay off eventually. And yes, the sound is big, crafted for big arenas. But is that necessarily a bad thing? So this may not be their best record, but the continuation of the band is worth something isn't it? No, that's worth a lot.

Listen to The Weight of your Love on Spotify.

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