Album Review: Editors – In Dream

By on Friday, 2nd October 2015 at 1:00 pm
 

Editors In DreamAfter the 2013 departure of guitarist Chris Urbanowicz, Editors doubled down with a new lineup and created the heavily rock-oriented album ‘The Weight of Your Love’ in an attempt to prove the resilience of their sound. Two years later, new band members Justin Lockey and Elliott Williams have settled firmly into their positions alongside founders Tom Smith, Russell Leetch and Ed Lay, and their presence seems to have inspired a broader collaborative effort for the band’s fifth LP and first self-produced album ‘In Dream’.

In addition to the more expansive sound afforded by a five-piece set up, Editors have brought in a pair of notable contributors from outside. Iranian photographer Rahi Rezvani was tasked with designing the visual schematics for the album, including all accompanying photography and video representations. His work centers around the dichotomy of light vs. dark and has been prominent throughout the album’s promotional process, as featured in the videos for already released singles ‘No Harm’, ‘Marching Orders’ and ‘Life is a Fear’.

Rezvani’s crisply graphic black and white visuals are a perfect illustration of the clean, sharply contrasting electronic sounds that dominate ‘In Dream’. Further emphasising that dramatic contrast, Editors have recruited Slowdive singer Rachel Goswell to contribute guest vocals on three tracks. ‘Ocean of Night’ builds to a dramatically layered climax with Goswell’s delicate whisper soaring above the dynamic swell of keyboards and percussion. Her warm, ethereal vocal tone floats effortlessly beside the trademark shadowy baritone of frontman Tom Smith to soften the harsh rhythm of vocal duet ‘The Law’ as she croons its hypnotic chorus “don’t let it get heavy / you are the law / why won’t you come get me? / you are the law”. Smith’s own falsetto is remarkably effective in the atmospheric ballad ‘At All Cost’, where Goswell’s ghostly vocals blend seamlessly into a graceful and deftly executed instrumental arrangement.

Aside from the previously unveiled singles, which are naturally the strongest tracks on ‘In Dream’, the serpentine track ‘Forgiveness’ is the album’s main standout, with its darkly beguiling melodic lines and Smith’s sneering vocal delivery in its title line, “forgiveness makes fools of all of us”. ‘Salvation’ is similarly dark and brooding, its string arrangement underscoring both the portentous anticipation of its verses and the striking declaration of the chorus.

‘All the Kings’ indulges Smith’s darkest lyrical tendencies, but its sharp, concise vocal phrases cut through the angular synth string arrangement and its chorus can best be described as anthemic as he chants “loneliness forever / holding back a river / all the kings are coming / marching to the sound from your ribcage”. Smith’s strained falsetto nearly obscures his some of his best lyrics in the heavy dance beat of ‘Our Love’, but its repeated plea “don’t stop believing” fairly begs for the ecstasy of a live audience. Closing track ‘Marching Orders’ is also sure to be a live favourite, with pounding keyboards and an echoing chorus that plays almost like an extended encore at the end of the album.

Smith’s menacing vocals and his stark, often bleak lyrics work surprisingly well overall in the predominantly synthesised instrumental context of ‘In Dream’, much more so in fact than they did on Editors’ previous album ‘The Weight of Your Love’. The instrumental arrangements here are expansive without losing focus, allowing their foundational rhythms a bit more room to move, their melodies a bit more freedom to breathe. In their aim to create an album that was “both pop and experimental”, Editors have found a nice balance between dark and light by displaying the extremes of the spectrum.

8/10

Editors’ fifth album ‘In Dream’ is due for release on Friday the 2nd of October on PIAS. The band will follow the album release with a run of live dates in the UK and Ireland starting on the 9th of October. Our full archive of Editors coverage can be found here.

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