Release Date: Mar 9, 2018
Record label: PIAS
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
An omnipresent tour-de-force in mainland Europe, you'll usually find Editors headlining most major festivals in Belgium, Holland and beyond most summers. What is it that our continental friends see that their native UK hasn't always taken to with as much devotion? Well, say what you will about Editors - but the band you hear today on sixth album 'Violence' are barely recognisable from the bone-rattling post-punk from 2005's 'The Back Room'. But then, they've always been a group in constant motion.
Nearly ten years on from their seminal trifecta of first three albums The Back Room, An End Has a Start and In This Light And On This Evening Editors were always compared to dark guitar rock bands Joy Division, Interpol and Echo & The Bunnymen. With their first album since 2015's identity crisis-tinged In Dream, the Birmingham-formed band have fully embraced a shimmering electro-pop exterior with Violence, though the shadowy lyrical undertones are still embedded in the new glossy synth sheen. Album opener 'Cold' so recalls the baritone synth-pop of London indie band Spector that I had to double-check that Fred McPherson wasn't guesting on lead vocals.
On the surface, everything about the sixth album from Editors suggests the perpetual gloom-mongers are about to explore new depths of darkness. Described as "brutal" by frontman Tom Smith, an album called Violence certainly doesn't leave much room for optimism going on their past reputation. However, when it comes to the Birmingham five-piece's latest effort, the old saying 'don't judge a book by its cover' comes to mind.
If the 2000's post-punk revival scene in the UK and US was defined by bands who didn't want to look like they were taking it too seriously, then Editors stand out as a strange relic. If in America Interpol were too cool to care about critics, and at home bands like The Libertines were too busy taking anything they could get their hands on, then Editors were the professionals - forever clean cut and focused. And, in large part, it worked for them.
After manoeuvring themselves well out the way of the ’00s indie cull, Editors find themselves still very much alive in 2018. If their fifth album (2015’s self-produced ‘In Dream’) presented the Birmingham U2-worshippers as survivors, their sixth at times even makes a case for a return to the spotlight. Lead single ‘Magazine’ possess the moodiness of Interpol with added euphoria, while ‘Violence’ creates an creepy yet endearing atmosphere throughout its six-minute run.
Editors have always demonstrated a passion for slick New Wave synth-rock, albeit a little dreamier and a little darker than the type that dominated the airwaves in the '80s. And Violence is no different. But contrary to what the gloomy song titles suggest, the band's sixth record is actually a kinder and gentler Editors album, musically speaking. One could argue that Editors' previous release, 2015's In Dream, was the band's zenith.