Editors has always been a band accused of being rip-offs of predecessing acts. From their 2004 debut ‘The Back Room’, which reminded some critics too much of like-minded artists such as Joy Division or Interpol, to Editors’ third effort ‘In This Light and On This Evening’, which presented a sonic evolution very similar to JD’s successor New Order. Recently, in 2013, ‘The Weight of Your Love’ showed the band’s love for stadium-rock bands like U2. Luckily – at least in my eyes – they decided to change their style once again with their new album ‘In Dream’. Do they, however, quite literally manage to become an independent band?
The LP starts off, also quite literally, with ‘No Harm’, potentially the calmest opener Editors ever used. Still, singer Tom Smith sings his few lines in an almost overly dramatic way. This type of dramaticality has been an issue with this band since its inception, even represented by Smith himself on the album cover. Fortunately, the instrumentation on ‘In Dream’ is way more electronic, reminiscent of their third album but gloomier. Lyrically, Smith keeps his focus on relationships and sometimes almost gothic topics, like fear of death and desperation.
The listener has time to deal with the contents of the first few songs, especially since they all are relatively unobtrusive – some might regard them as mere background music. But if you give ‘In Dream’ a certain amount of patience it most definitely repays you. And even if you don’t, the fifth song ‘Life is a Fear’ is the one to draw your attention at last. It is also the only song that immediately reminds me personally of another band – in this case, Depeche Mode. Afterwards, the album returns to its romantic and slow original vibe. ‘The Law’, the album’s most industrial sounding song, features Slowdive’s singer Rachel Goswell. The aforementioned patient listener is rewarded with the definite highlights of ‘In Dream’, with ‘All the Kings’ being the core and most important track on the album. It might even be the best song Editors ever came up with. It stands out with the perfect dose of strings, which, applied wrongly, can lead to cheesiness and pathos. The lyrics stand out as well:
“So send me to venus, send me to Mars. Show all your failures, all your scars. See it all burn down, we dance to the sparks. We dance to the beating of your broken heart.”
‘In Dream’ ends with an eight-minute hymn called ‘Marching Orders’, the longest song Editors ever created. Even though it is an amazing choice, you still get the feeling that it is drawn a bit out of proportion. In that way, it stands in contrast to the rest of the album, on which Editors finally found a way to be dramatic and calm at the same time. In my view, this mixture works very well at home or on the way to uni, but it remains to be proven if all these songs work live as well.
If you want to find out yourself, Editors are playing the Mehr! Theater supported by the equally amazing The Twilight Sad on the 8th of November. Unfortunately, this gig is sold out already. But maybe you can snatch a ticket somehow, when you come at the right time.
Jannik was listening to ‘That Summer at Home I Had Become the Invisible Boy’ by The Twilight Sad while finishing this review.