Title: The Weight Of Your Love
Genre: Indie Rock
Release Date: 28th June 2013
Label: Play It Again Sam (Rough Trade / Pias)
The reliable thing about EDITORS is that they always sound like EDITORS. You know what you’re going to get. And this has done the band no harm in their career so far. Three albums, two reaching number one in the UK charts, a Mercury Prize nomination, several huge hit singles and an endless number of sizeable headline gigs, it’s an impressive run since debut ‘The Back Room’ caused such a stir back in 2005. Things have not gone so smoothly recently, however. Dragging heels over the new album, singer Tom Smith enjoying some solo success, and the departure of guitarist Chris Urbanowicz have contributed to some unease about long-awaited fourth album ‘The Weight Of Your Love’. So, is it any good? And does it sound like EDITORS?
First, it is very good indeed. And possibly because the second answer is no, it doesn’t. Playing only to die-hard fans never prolongs a career, and on ‘The Weight Of Your Love’, the band have opted for what is, at times, a radical new approach, and one that should win them a legion of new fans without alienating the old. Clever. First single ‘A Ton Of Love’ is classic EDITORS, but with softer edges, despite starting off with what sounds like a discarded riff from THE CULT and ending up the best song ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN never wrote. Big chorus firmly in place, a bouncy “Desire” sing-along section, it’s a perfect Summer single. And on opening track ‘The Weight’, a striking gothic-operetta, there’s a new sound emerging. Less scratchy and wiry, less abrasive, a new maturity to the sound and a definite decision to push Tom Smith’s vocals to the front. His deep croon and odd intonation are present and correct, as is a surprisingly adept falsetto on piano and strings weepy ‘What Is This Thing Called Love’, all elevating this album to something really special.
On ‘Hyena’ he twists and turns his voice around an intricate and slightly sinister melody, before hitting a passionate chorus high of “Laugh with me, Hyena”. It’s a fabulous song, full of swagger and purpose, busy and complex. ‘Two Hearted Spider’ has a seriously dark heart, vocals again pushed outwards. It’s obviously an EDITORS song, but one where all the elements come together perfectly, refined and offered as a 2013 New Edition. And ‘The Phone Book’ further pushes the boundaries, a strummed shuffle musically reminiscent of PJ HARVEY’S ‘On Battleship Hill’, the lyric “Sing me a love song, from your heart or from the phone book” managing to sound like the most beautiful line ever written. And gorgeous, sparsely arranged ballad ‘Nothing’ shouldn’t leave a dry eye when played live. There’s emotion pouring out of these songs like never before, it’s melancholic without being self-indulgent, gentle at times but never cloying, and it works.
So, it’s EDITORS no doubt, but not as we know them. This is a towering achievement, a subtle but wholly successful reinvention, and one with a vocalist realising his full potential over a set of songs that are almost flawless. ‘The Weight Of Your Love’ should leave little doubt that a prolonged hiatus can sometimes be a good thing, and this album easily represents EDITORS strongest material to date. Seriously good.
01. The Weight
03. A Ton Of Love
04. What Is This Thing Called Love
09. Two Hearted Spider
10. The Phone Book
11. Bird Of Prey
Tom Smith – Vocals, guitars
Russell Leetch – Bass
Ed Lay – Drums
Justin Lockey – Guitars
Elliot Williams – Synths, guitars
Total: 9 / 10