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Editors - The Weight Of Your Love (Album Review)

Thursday, 27 June 2013 Written by Graeme Marsh

Editors - Birmingham’s finest purveyors of doom-laden indie - are back with a first new album in four years and a rejigged line-up. 'The Weight Of Your Love' is their first release since the departure of guitarist Chris Urbanowicz, seemingly heralding a change in direction for the band.

Their three previous long players all garnered considerable critical acclaim upon release, none more so than debut offering ‘The Back Room’, which boasted gems in Blood, Munich and Bullets.  The album was subsequently nominated for the annual Mercury Prize and went on to sell over half a million copies in the UK alone.

The sound of the band has varied since ‘The Back Room’, flitting between racing guitars, Joy Division’s dark post-punk style and keyboard-driven numbers. ‘The Weight Of Your Love’ possesses elements of each, with the notable addition of strings.

Opening track The Weight ranks among the darkest material the band have released, with grandiose, sweeping synths and tinkling piano announcing its arrival before a dark, pounding Depeche Mode-style turn. It’s a brave way to begin an album and showcases the many different aspects of the band’s sound in one place, as if declaring the album’s credentials in one hit.  The song itself is a reflective look at love, with its “without you I would be lost” statement saying everything.

Sugar introduces itself with fuzzy bass, which is then punctuated by an undulating guitar riff that continues throughout. The pace quickens for the chorus and again love features heavily, Tom Smith stating that “it breaks my heart to love you”.

Sugar also employs hints of exotic guitars, recalling Echo And The Bunnymen, and these continue on lead-off single A Ton Of Love, the opening riff sounding similar to the guitars from The Cutter in particular. The track is the closest the band get to a fist-pumping stadium filler. The soaring bridge lifts the song to another level, with chants of “taken by force, twisted fate” leading into the chorus.

The opening trio of songs are impossible for the rest of the record to match; What Is This Thing Called Love is an ultimately forgettable ballad that sees Smith deploying an unusual falsetto vocal, while Honesty is another slowie featuring strings that falls short. Nothing is a minimalist piece based entirely around strings and Smith’s vocal.

The tempo picks up for Formaldehyde, a track built on a thumping bassline and delicately added guitars. The synth-backed bridge leads to another one-word chorus, after A Ton Of Love, although this time backing vocals play their part.  Hyena sounds like a return to their early years, and the guitars are likely to draw comparisons once again to Interpol. At one point there is even a chanted line that recalls an Arcade Fire melody.

Two Hearted Spider slows proceedings down, a twanging bass and incessant pounding drum being the sparse accompaniment for Smith’s musings, with another skeletal guitar line floating above. The track is a slow burner and bears similarities to Mansun’s Wide Open Space at its mid section before finally (almost) igniting towards its conclusion.

The Phone Book continues the love theme – “I’m here to watch your heart, it’s been faulty from the start” -  and musically it’s very sparse, with little other than an acoustic guitar and simple percussion at play.

Bird Of Prey closes the album, an ode to a loved one once more. It’s another track simple in construction, most reminiscent of the National.  The album finishes on an uneventful note, but unfortunately that could be said of this whole collection. Clocking in at just under 45 minutes, the album does become dull at points and fails to deliver enough strong moments following that excellent opening burst.

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