It’s been a while since Editors released an album stuffed full of sky-scraping apocalyptic bangers. In the mid-noughties the Birmingham gloom rockers prolifically chucked out dark anthems (‘Munich’, ‘Blood’, ‘An End Has A Start’) just for fun, flying in the face of sneering accusations that they were just another Joy Division rip off. Even 2009’s divisive synth-noir shift – ‘In This Light And On This Evening’ – had its majestic moments.
In the ensuing 13 years, as the band swapped their post-punk blueprint for industrial electro-rock and ushered in new recruits (Justin Lockey and Elliott Williams), they never really recaptured the chart-hogging heights that dominated the early part of their career. But on seventh album ‘EBM’, with collaborator Blanck Mass (Benjamin John Power) now on board as a full time member, Editors have gone some way to redress the balance. Rousing opener ‘Heart Attack’ could easily have sat on any of their first three albums, such is the spine tingling immediacy of the track when Tom Smith achingly cries: “No one will love you more than I do / I can promise you that / And when your love breaks I’m inside you / Like a heart attack.”
Searing industrial anthem ‘Karma Climb’, with its twanging New Order bass line, ramps up proceedings as the frontman’s baritone bounces over brooding guitars and punching drum pads. Then’s there’s the synth-whirring ‘Kiss’, a belting ballad which opens brilliantly before it frustratingly loses its way in the second half. It’s a shame the band didn’t opt for the single version, for its punchy immediacy lands harder than the album’s 8-minute behemoth.
Unlike their early records, on ‘EBM’, Editors straddle heart-tugging hits with their now more familiar, visceral rock numbers. Synth-stabbing ‘Strawberry Lemonade’, for instance, is as unnerving as it is foot stomping with its screeching bleeps and drum beats. Elsewhere, the bludgeoning ‘Picturesque’ comes on like a frenzied attack to the senses and ‘Strange Intimacy’ is a head-spinning closer that leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. ‘EBM’, then, goes some way to bringing the seasoned band back to what they do best, all the while pushing things forward.
- Release date: September 23
- Record label: Play It Again Sam