Review Summary: Let’s all just forget that ‘In This Light and On This Evening’ ever existed.
Following the electro abomination that was 2009’s ‘In This Light and On This Evening’, anyone and everyone could be forgiven for approaching Editors’ follow-up ‘The Weight of Your Love’ with trepidation. Having then lost rightfully spurned guitarist and synth player Chris Urbanowicz (replaced here by both Justin Lockey and Elliot Williams) along the four year journey, the anticipatory sensation headed even further south towards dread! Thankfully, it doesn’t take too long for the English quintet’s fourth LP to allay the fear of listeners, with a batch of atmospheric tunes that not only cuts back on the filler and patent electronics, but is almost exactly what its predecessor should have sounded like!
Fantastic opener ‘The Weight’ begins with dark, ominous synths before giving way to an incessant beat and almost folky guitar strums. Tom Smith’s striking baritone soon captures attention, even if his trademark ambiguous lyrics (“I’m a lump of meat with a heartbeat”) occasionally confound. Most pleasing is the existence of an ever-present tension, with each sound after sound, instrument after instrument and melody after melody being meticulously added to build up and then release. Brilliantly, this pseudo title track and second single is both thoroughly melodic and accessible; traits which follow through to the fuzzy Muse-like bass-lines and middle eastern influenced bridge of successor ‘Sugar’.
While their influences remain apparent, Editors feel less like bandwagon jumpers here, than they did on the Franz Ferdinand aping ‘In This Light...’. Echo and The Bunnymen are the obvious comparison, while co-producer Mark ‘Flood’ Ellis brings the anthemic, stadium-baiting qualities he helped deliver to U2... Especially on lead single ‘A Ton of Love’, and not just because of the repetitive “Desire” refrain. The middle section of the album bears the most fascinating influence, however: the orchestral melodrama of Lana Del Rey (sans hip-hop samples)! It is here where there are strings... and lots of them. ‘What Is This Thing Called Love’ is certain to be most polarizing, with Smith striving too hard to showcase diversity by unleashing – of all things – his falsetto! Sandwiched in-between that and emotional ballad ‘Nothing’ is highlight ‘Honesty’, which gets the balance just right and acts as the LP’s best barometer.
Comprised of bass-driven pop turns (see the hooky backing vocals of ‘Formaldehyde’) and evocative mood pieces containing occasional flourishes of Americana (courtesy of American co-producer Jacquire King), nothing in the album’s solid latter half will reach out and grab you. However, there is just enough diversity evident in these tunes to stave off indifference and reward repeated listening. In fact, such descriptions can broadly be used to characterize the album as a whole, even if its three act sequencing renders such a label short-sighted. In truth, Editors have done what all artists should do as they evolve: effectively bring together all of their past work to create something new. At the very least, ‘The Weight of Your Love’ is successful in getting the talented Englishmen back on track... And while the cut-throat nature of the music industry may suggest it is too little too late, everyone should be entitled to one indiscretion.
Recommended Tracks: The Weight, Honesty, A Ton of Love & Formaldehyde.