Review Summary: Il s'envole comme un papillon qui a été piqué par une abeille.
Over the past year or so electronic led music has risen significantly in popularity. Fusing electronica influences and other genres has been especially predominant with acts such as Franz Ferdinand, The Klaxons and Bloc Party leading the trend. They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery, and if indeed this is the case then the aforementioned bands should be deeply pleased that Birmingham based Editors have joined the bandwagon. Back in 2005 the post-punk revival act hit the United Kingdom by storm with the release of their their debut album The Back Room
. The genuine critical acclaim the album received led to the usual hyperbolic statements from key members of the British music press and, of course, this reflected positively on the mass public with the album shifting over one million copies within the United Kingdom alone. In fact, the success of the album lead to a Mercury Prize nomination, and although the eventual award went to The Arctic Monkeys’ seminal masterpiece Whatever People Say I Am...
the buzz around Editors remained. Since then it has become almost impossible to mention Editors without comparing them in some way shape or form to Joy Division but on their third album In This Light And On This Evening
the comparison falls some way short. By embracing the electronica craze Editors now have more in common with Eighties style new wave bands in the ilk of New Order and Depeche Mode than anything else.
Those expecting another guitar-led, anthemic stadium rock album in the style of An End Has A Start
will be taken aback. The dense miasmic atmosphere initially intrigues and the eponymous opener starts the album in much the same way any Eighties new wave album would. The preliminary assumptions are all but negative, as Editors have clearly shafted their post-punk origins for something entirely different. However as the droning atmospherics continue throughout subsequent tracks Bricks And Mortar
and grating first single Papillon
the monotonous, sluggish soundscapes become first uninteresting and finally outright boring. The agonizingly tedious mid-section passes at about the same speed of your average sloth and the mind-numbing ennui finally reaches its climax in the form of the overwhelmingly insipid The Big Exit
. While on its own the track may have some merit, it is easily the worst thing Editors have created, with even Tom Smith’s vocals reaching a sub-par level.
Usually a solid fall-back for the rest of the band, Smith’s vocals have on previous albums managed to save poor tracks from disaster and enhanced the standouts exponentially, with his baritone vocals complimenting the music well. However throughout the majority of In This Light...
Smith’s vocals feel out of place against the untidy background. Smith’s performance isn’t helped by the unexciting lyrics throughout most of In This Light...
. Predominantly the flaccid, uninspired lyrics he has to work with are delivered with all the enthusiasm they deserve, with the singular exception being late standout Eat Raw Meat = Blood Drool
.Another failure (instrumentally) is in Editor’s usually excellent rhythm section. The dynamic duo of Ed Lay and Russell Leetch have been standout performers on previous records, with Lay’s drumming especially energetic. Regrettably the introduction of the heavy synths have almost rendered both men redundant, with neither doing anything particularly remarkable or even interesting. This is a crying shame for the majority of tracks beg for something outstanding to break the cyclic formula.
As previously mentioned penultimate track Eat Raw Meat = Blood Drool
has not only the best name on the album but also contains both the best lyrics and the most interesting instrumentation. The confrontational thought-provoking lyrical imagery provided by such lines as “You’re chewing with an open mouth... The blood drool attracts the flies” entwines agreeably with the pulsating bass and for once the union is complimentary enough to allow the prose meaning. Lamentably this is the only time the band manage to forge any real connection with the audience and thus remains the lone album highlight. This may be in part to the album’s lack of any real single material. With the exception of the love-it-or-hate-it lead single Papillon
most of the tracks are either too boring to be released, or simply do not lend kindly to the single format.
In This Light And On This Evening
is a definite step down for the Birmingham based post-punk band. By following the growing trend of increased electronics, Editors have lost most of the structure and consistency that was so integral to their success. Undoubtedly Editors decided that copy-pasting the formula from their previous albums would lead to a regression in both originality and imagination but ironically by introducing heavy synth beats to their tracks they have in fact done one of the most unoriginal things possible. It is the sheer magnitude of the dependence that Tom Smith and company have on the electronic department that is the embodiment of the albums failings as more often than not good passages of music are spoiled by dull, repetitive electronics that add nothing to the bands overall sound. Sure, the influence from Depeche Mode and New Order is obvious; as is the similarities to Franz Ferdinand’s most recent LP Tonight: Franz Ferdinand
. Unlike the Scots however, Editors made wholesale changes to their formula, and where Franz Ferdinand would have benefitted by making their change more drastic; exactly the opposite can be said of Editors. Unfortunately In This Light...
goes down as yet another post-punk revival album to fail with the addition of electronics, and while it can be pulled off (Bloc Party’s Intimacy for example) it proves just how difficult it is to merge the two styles of music.
Eat Raw Meat = Blood Drool
Overall 1.5 Very Poor