It may be their best album, even if singles are conspicuous by their absence.
Mike Diver 2009-10-05
Editors have experienced success in terms of sales and audience numbers, but their gloom-laced indie-rock has often been heard as a retread of what’s come before – a watered-down Joy Division for the masses, despite it packing a greater melodic punch than their melancholic forebears. For their third album, the Birmingham four-piece have addressed this criticism head on, unashamedly crafting their ‘most Joy Division’ record yet.
And that’s no bad thing: by embracing what they’re evidently good at – subtly reworking records from personal collections – Editors have struck gold on In This Light…, albeit between mining little of note on a couple of lacklustre tracks. Said skippable selections aside – the alarmingly over-dramatic single Papillon, the shonky lyricism of Like Treasure – this nine-track affair finds its makers exhibiting a self-confidence previously masked by tried-and-tested pop hooks. Their risks here, however slight, do pay dividends.
The opening title track is a phenomenal way to begin proceedings. An electronic pulse – think the start of Franz Ferdinand’s Take Me Out given a Kraftwerk once-over – parts to allow frontman Tom Smith to state, plaintively: “In this light, and on this evening / London’s become the most beautiful thing I’ve seen”. It’s a track to oppose A Weekend in the City, Bloc Party’s 2007 album of capital city tension and paranoia, and a stirring, teasing number that layers noise upon noise until its climax, a reprise of that pulse, sounds remarkable for its delicateness.
Bricks and Mortar is poor lyrically – alas it’s an area Editors haven’t improved in – but its Depeche Mode-does-The Terminator synths and bassline mirroring of The Horrors’ sublime Sea Within a Sea combine neatly to create a euphoric whole sure to light up future live shows. The confrontational tone of Eat Raw Meat = Blood Drool just about makes up for its awful title (only Six By Seven could ever pull off the 'eat something equals something' equation), and closer Walk the Fleet Road is a down-tempo arrangement that could, in years to come, be celebrated as Editors’ own Atmosphere. It’s an elegantly solemn ending to an album that wears its influences broadly, but never abuses them.
And, as such, it might be the best album Editors have yet produced, even if obvious singles are conspicuous by their absence.