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.
While their second effort ‘An End Has A Start’ adopted a very similar blueprint, it broadened their horizons to paint them as a Coldplay-threatening arena prospect. Then on ‘In This Light And On This Evening’, they were reborn by shunning the guitar-sound that found them fame, opting instead for a darkwave synthpop sound. Equally loved as it was loathed, it still topped the charts in the UK and made them a household name in Europe.
By album four, they’d lost guitarist Chris Urbanowicz and gained Justin Lockey and Elliott Williams – resulting in a much more full-bodied sound with the beefy and Springsteen-esque ‘The Weight Of Your Love’ and the highly-evolved and criminally-underrated opulence of ‘In Dream’. Now on album No.6, they’ve made as many records in their current incarnation as they did in their first, and have covered enough ground to avoid expectations.
‘Violence’ does precisely that. Lead single ‘Magazine’ twitches and struts with Depeche Mode electro-rock bravado, clearly assisted with the brutal edge of collaborator Blanck Mass. ‘Hallelujah (So Low)’ takes things one step further to an almighty industrial stomping climax that you’d expect to hear on a record from Nine Inch Nails, Muse or Lockey’s former band Yourcodenameis:milo.
While the title track and ‘Belong’ also simmer with a caustic but expansive electro pulse, it’s not all dark and mechanical – there’s equally as much humanity and light. ‘Cold’ is a U2-worthy triumph, begging for fields of swaying arms and lighters aloft, while ‘Darkness At The Door’ is the closest Editors have and probably will ever come to an ‘80s power ballad – and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
‘No Sound But The Wind’ is a re-worked version of a fan favourite, having previously been on the soundtrack to ‘The Twilight Saga: New Moon’ in 2010 and curiously becoming a No.1 single in Belgium, but never released elsewhere. It’s an aching but hopeful lament to marching on against the odds. It seems only too fitting then that in this incarnation, it’s part of the record that could well bring Editors back home.