Review Summary: A more considered, careful construction, but not without its flaws.“
[The Weight of Your Love] is a band record, a musical record, a rock record... with a foot in that alt-rock / Americana world.”
– Tom Smith, 2013
With this unexpected endorsement tentatively triggering furrowed brows and jangling nerves amongst critics and the public alike, the clumsily titled The Weight of Your Love
had to pull something out of the bag, and it had to be something big. 2009’s love-it-or-hate-it In This Light and On This Evening
proved to be a dark masterpiece for some, and a brave step in a new direction, but ultimately it split public opinion to such an extent that it even seemingly managed to cause turbulence within the ranks of the band. One band member down and two up later, Editors have struck back with yet another differing style to their catalogue. It has predictably eschewed the claustrophobia of In This Light and On This Evening
, the pomposity of An End Has A Start
and the straightforward beats of The Back Room
for a change of heart that heats up things without overcooking them; that goes everywhere it needs to without really going anywhere at all.
The Weight of Your Love
is the perfect example of a record that packs a punch but in frustrating waves, owing both to the bizarre ordering of the tracks and a questionable level of quality in some, albeit miniscule, segments. It being lazily bookended by two of the most aimless pieces in the band’s discography is a start, as it results in the listener’s first taste of the album being the endless, uninspiring The Weight
. Be it a purposeful introduction to their new sound or an accidental oversight, it’s a negative, conservative start to say the least; it's a track far too gloomy and dense to effectively kickstart an album of this nature. Also notably more guitar-heavy and ethereal, the track illuminates more of a lean toward blues-rock than impending Americana, with an unpalatable sense of knowing irony, like the band thinks they’re tricking us. The confused, schizophrenic Sugar
and the lead single A Ton of Love
continue to tread down the worrying road of missteps that the opener set out on, albeit slowing the march to oblivion, but then the album does something unexpected, and, in all fairness, brilliant.
By slowing the pace for the middle section, Editors allow themselves to open up and let some real, sincere emotions flow, something their entire catalogue up to now has been severely lacking. Smith takes centre stage to really exercise his full range for Honesty
and, most notably, for the naïve, childlike but fantastically beautiful What Is This Thing Called Love
, a track that symbolises an element of maturity that the now-five-piece possess. The rich piano and floating falsetto are more focused and considered than Editors of old, and the earnest nature of this second phase of the record is a great reward after the indifferent nature of the first. Emerging from this cathartic segment, the wobbling, shrieking Hyena
acts as a microcosm symbolising the uncertainty of the album as a whole; every moment of lower quality is directly followed by a moment of inspiration and vice versa, and just as the album appears to be going out without much of a fight, album highlight The Phone Book
turns it around with mere moments to spare. Sweet and melodic, it's a simple, hushed song that demonstrates Smith's patient new writing style, simmering with frustration but showing too much restraint to fully realise it. In a baffling, retro sort of a way, it's at once comforting, ambiguous and achingly sad.
The Weight of Your Love
is more timid and less brash than any of Editors’ past offerings, and fractions of the fanbase that need their fix of distortion may be disheartened. Rather than crunch, the album is all about occupying space, not only on a small scale (it features copious amounts of 80’s-style reverb), but on a larger one too; it covers a lot of ground, some derivative, some not. However, even though the send off is an accidental middle finger to the listener with the interminable Bird of Prey
, it’s a genuine, heartfelt effort that, in all honesty, works. It’s not a step in any radical direction, nor is it a step in the wrong direction, but it is at least a step of some sort, and for that, I am most certainly thankful.