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Editors - EBM (Album Review)

Tuesday, 04 October 2022 Written by Graeme Marsh

Photo: Rahi Rezvani 

Since the release of ‘Violence’ in 2018, the dynamic within Editors has changed. Benjamin John Power of Blanck Mass and Fuck Buttons, who had partially produced that album, has now joined the band on a full time basis. Unsurprisingly, the resulting ‘EBM’ sounds more attuned to his electro-industrial style than Editors’ post-punk brand.

Guitarist-vocalist Tom Smith has taken more of a back seat on ‘EBM’, reducing the burden that inevitably sat on his shoulders as the main songwriter. Despite this, you can still hear songs that clearly have Editors’ DNA running through their veins—they just find themselves dressed up completely differently.

When Powers’ involvement was announced, the same day also saw the release of lead single Heart Attack. The accompanying video is a work of art in itself pulled together by VFX artist Felix Green, and the song manages to match it blow for blow. It is a superb addition to the band’s catalogue, with its chorus particularly memorable amid the production gloss.

Stockpiling singles at the top of an album, though, rarely ends well. With second single Karma Climb (more high-octane energy as the song tackles escapism) and Kiss (think Pet Shop Boys for its first half then Depeche Mode for its second) coming in at tracks three and four respectively, the hope for early momentum is perhaps a little too obvious. 

Elsewhere, there is over reliance on production values with varying results. Educate’s synth line carries little weight and largely gets lost in a case of style over substance, but Strawberry Lemonade, again heavily dependent on Power’s electronic sheen, benefits from being carried along by its glitz. When there’s less intensity, though, the old Editors shine through, as on the sorrowful Silence, which drips with emotion.

With ‘EBM’ being so noticeably different from earlier albums, it will likely knock the band’s guitar-favouring fans back a step. But it will ultimately serve as either momentary dabbling in a new direction, or a stepping stone on to something more satisfying. Either way, on ‘EBM’ it doesn’t feel like this partnership is quite there yet.

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