There was more to country music legend Hank Williams than boozing and a difficult marriage, y’know
Editors - 'The Weight Of Your Love'
They’ve hired the man who made Kings Of Leon a stadium band, but their fourth album is delivered with a shrug
Editors’ new era starts inoffensively enough, with the baleful but over-inflated ‘The Weight’ and the Depeche Mode strut of ‘Sugar’. And lead single ‘A Ton Of Love’ is a decent show of intention. It’s a big, dumb, lolloping St Bernard of a song that could pass for ’80s U2 as fronted by Eddie Vedder. It’s not until ‘What Is This Thing Called Love’ that things go wrong. Frontman Tom Smith tries a falsetto and Jesus suffering Christ, it is awful. It comes as no surprise to learn that Smith wrote this power(less)-ballad after betting he could write a tune for a former X Factor contestant. The unnamed singer got dropped and Smith kept the song for himself. If you listen closely, you’ll hear the talent show stooge sighing with relief.
It’s uphill from there, but barely. Live fan-favourite ‘Nothing’ has been entirely rescored with the help of Clint Mansell, the former Pop Will Eat Itself man who scored Requiem For A Dream, but the end result is to remove any trace of urgency. The similarly string-laden ‘Nothing’ gives Smith the chance to put on his best sad Springsteen voice, but The Boss would never commit the cardinal sin of being quite this boring.
‘Formaldehyde’, which you can at least dance to, is the high point, the sound of the band cutting loose a little. But after that the album runs out of energy. ‘Hyena’ sounds like an Editors covers band who’ve been drafted in to write a song in which they try to second-guess what people expect from an Editors song. There’s not a lot to laugh about. The stench of death is about the record, but not in a sexy, existential way. ‘Two Hearted Spider’ wants to conjure up words like “brooding intensity”, but could only really be considered dark by the sort of person who sleeps with a night-light. ‘The Phone Book’ takes a stab at folky Americana that’ll make you wish it could give them one back. By ‘Bird Of Prey’ it’s entirely apparent that absolutely nobody gives a shit any more. It’s so phoned-in I had to fight the temptation to hang up. It all ends not with a bang, but a shrug.
The most telling line comes on ‘Honesty’, when Smith plots “a rocking-horse getaway”. At first glance that’s nonsensical, but after spending time with this record, the image of a man trying to gallop but instead wobbling back and forth pointlessly seems horribly apt.
Kevin EG Perry
Antony of Antony & The Johnsons is now Anohni, and she makes relevant, uncringey protest music
Thomas Cohen moves on from the death of his wife, Peaches Geldof, with a compelling and sophisticated solo album
Drake’s fourth album sticks to his trademark murky sound – but his downbeat introspection remains gripping
Australian psych maniacs King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard have transformed into a mad metal band