Album Review: Editors 'In This Light and On This Evening' 3/5

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Richard Vause considers the merits of the new Editors album.

First things first for Editors’ 3rd album; the name. There is nothing wrong with In This Light and On This Evening, but I just can’t help thinking it would have much more of a ring to it as ‘On This Night and In This Light’. 4-year-old-esque insistences on rhymes in poems, songs and (apparently) album titles aside, I was curious as what we’d be getting from them Editors boys this time around. After two impressive, platinum albums of epic, guitar tunes, Editors’ change in direction is a surprise. Goodbye guitar-basis and hello a new, synth-driven, electronic style. Think ‘Editors in Space’.

And after my initial listen I was not convinced by this switch at all. As a fan of The Back Room and An End Has A Start I was disappointed to hear an album that sounded as uninteresting as vocalist Tom Michael Henry Smith’s name. Apparently there was just one set sound repeated on all 9 tracks, with no stand out songs to come anywhere near the levels of Munich, Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors or The Racing Rats. However, after a few more listens the industrial, Kraftwerk-inspired sound was starting to grow on me.

By far the best songs on the album, Bricks and Mortar and lead single Papillon (which isn’t a stupid made up futuristic-sounding word as I originally thought, but is a breed of dog related to the Spaniel - everyday’s a school day with Editors) started to turn me over to the new style and, consequently, the rest of the album slowly started to follow. The industrial sound originally seemed unsatisfactory but as the lyrics in the opening track state: “in this light and on this evening, London has become the most beautiful thing I’ve seen”. Like a grim, urban landscape, at first In This Light and On This Evening seems monotonous, but, with a keen eye (or ear) can become something much more interesting, special and rewarding. A feeling that is epitomised by the grand, but still somewhat harsh, opening track, also titled In This Light and On This Evening.

The new sound was starting to work for me. Maybe not as much as the guitar-bias that I previously enjoyed, but the synths have allow Editors to continue with their lyrical, sombre signature style but have added some variety to their very existence as a band. This album is not just The Back Room 2.0 and we should be appreciative of a band who have not taken the easy road, here. Yes, this is a sound that will lose them many of their old fans, but to keep experimenting, whilst still managing to stay true to who you are as artists, is a commendable effort. Unfortunately, it never reaches the height of its predecessors and, if you are an Editors fan, approach with caution as this may not deliver for you.

Overall, In This Light and On This Evening is a commendable effort with a few strong tracks and very few weak tracks (arguably, only the meagre The Boxer). The problem is that many songs are just too average and if these tracks had been improved and just a bit more interest added, Editors could be dealing with an album that was equally impressive as The Back Room despite its differing direction. However, in it’s current state In This Light and On This Evening is simply solid and the loss of old fans will probably exceed the gaining of new fans. So very close, but Editors have just missed out on a great 3rd album. Maybe the addition of a rhyming title could alter their fortunes…

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