The Weight of Your Love
Sep 02, 2013 Web Exclusive
During the opening track of this, Editors' fourth album, frontman Tom Smith tells us in his still-assuming baritone that he is concerned that his constant references to death mean he's getting boring. It's a strange statement from the lead singer of a band that has made its mark by picking up the pieces left behind by arch British gloom merchants such as Joy Division and Echo and The Bunnymen and putting them back together with a modern aesthetic.
Herein lies the problem with The Weight of Your Love, an album which is categorized more by what is missing than what isn't. Guitarist Chris Urbanowicz, he of the delay-soaked riffs that typify the urgency and energy of Editors' sound, left the band during recording, citing musical differences. We now know what they were—Smith and the band want to morph into a Depeche Mode-meets-U2-meets-Simple Minds great big über rock band, even it means losing the very essence of what made them special in the first place.
So, single "A Ton of Love" sounds like '80s stadium rock that Simple Minds' Jim Kerr would be proud of. "Sugar" is essentially a love song, but of the creepy, synthesized Depeche Mode or Sisters of Mercy style. And the less said about strange, high-pitched, Bono-esque crooning "What Is This Thing Called Love" the better.
There are glimmers of the band that went before. "Two Hearted Spider" is a grand, dark, and gloriously depressing love ballad that would have sat nicely on any of their other albums. It ends in a stadium-sized sing-along, but Editors have always made expansive music. Likewise, "Formaldehyde" finally sees Smith getting some of that urgency in his voice that is lacking elsewhere.
Editors is at a crossroads. Behind the band is an impressive back catalog of haunting, urgent, and melancholic rock music. Ahead, if The Weight of Your Love is anything to go by, is years spent trying to emulate bigger bands by diluting their sound and pushing for the stadium-sized noise. Let's hope that Smith and the rest of the band look left or right. (www.editorsofficial.com)
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