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First impressions: Editors – The Weight of Your Love

10/07/2013
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I have a soft spot for bands with long careers and histories: it’s obviously nothing that makes or breaks an artist for me, but I’ve always loved digging into long discographies where each album seems like a chapter of an ever-evolving story about a group of people and their life and times, expressed in musical styles, moods and songs. A lot of bands have sizeable discographies, but only some end up semi-accidentally crafting them into rich historical catalogues. The thing is, would we know we’re listening to one of these artists when they’re still starting up? Discography legacies only really happen once the artist has established themselves to have lasted time long enough to build a catalogue: early on, they’d simply feel like a normal band with their own tropes. Is artistic growth and change as noticeable when we’re actually living in the period it’s happening rather than when we dive into it a decade later?

I started thinking about this when listening to Editors‘ new, fourth album The Weight of Your Love. I started thinking about this because The Weight of Your Love feels like a turning point for Editors: the moment where the way you view a band changes. Editors have always worn their influences loud and proudly on their sleeves and as such they’ve always felt like a band that you like despite themselves, that their songwriting is good enough to separate them from the rest but who have never felt particularly special or exciting because they’re walking on such unoriginal, well-trodden paths. The Back Room and An End Has a Start are both posterboy examples of the mid-00s post-punk revival craze, and while 2009‘s In This Light and on This Evening saw the band change their gears heavily, it sounded exactly like you’d imagine when you think of a rock band changing their guitars into synths (it even came along with the standard “we got bored of guitars” speeches). But a lot of bands begin with familiar influences in tow.

The Weight of Your Love isn’t the most original piece of music and it does occasionally have its clear reference points – the band have pointed out US alt/indie rock as their main influences for this album and it hangs around in the background, but it only manifests obviously on the lead single “A Ton of Love”. However, despite of that The Weight of Your Love sounds like the moment where Editors finally find their own voice and are ready to build their own legacy. The band’s rebirth after original guitarist Chris Urbanowicz left and was replaced by guitarist Justin Lockey and keyboard player Elliott Williams has resulted in them finding a new way to carry themselves onwards. They’re more adventurous, with the downright jolly “Formaldehyde” and the acoustic ballad shuffle “The Phone Book” sound like nothing they have done before. The songcraft on display is less predictable and more exciting. Vocalist Tom Smith himself sounds far more confident as a frontman, finally breaking free from the mould that caused people to lazily label him as another Ian Curtis imitator by refining his own mannerisms (and his lyrics have taken a huge jump onwards). Editors have had a place in my record shelf for a while now, but The Weight of Your Love for the first time makes me feel invested in the band – they are their own band now and far more than just their compiled influences.

The Weight of Your Love isn’t an album so amazing I’d be able to rave about it forever, and in particular it sogs a little in its middle: in particular “Honesty” is pleasant but not highly memorable and the solely orchestra-performed “Nothing” sounds a bit too overblown for its own good (the acoustic version on the special edition bonus disc, carried entirely by piano and an acoustic guitar, is actually far better). Its best parts, however, stand comfortably among the band’s previous top highlight moments and the improvements and rejuvenation all around the sound and performance turn The Weight of Your Love into a tight and consistently good listen – perhaps even surprisingly so, when thinking about the band’s past albums. It may not be the album of the year, but it’s the album that takes Editors in their own league and transforms them into a band you want to care about. In 2022 when someone is browsing through the Editors catalogue, this’ll be seen as the turning point for them.


The Weight

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