Though style isn’t often more important than writing, the lack of a unique sound can be detrimental to your writing. At their sixth album, the British rockers clearly have their writing craft down, and make even moments within their songs a true and powerful surprise. Despite their triumphant writing however, the sound behind it is often so vanilla that you may not even notice the writing.
The sparse pop of “Cold” is surprisingly hot and cold in its tone, which gives its electronic shrieks a powerful sense of duality. While the song’s slow-burning opening may leave you wondering what it really has to offer, the euphoria it opens into after the first chorus is certainly worth the wait. They continue to subvert your expectations in their wild arrangements on “Hallelujah (So Low)” as simple guitar strums turn into a macabre sweep of electronics. Though this alone would be a fun twist on a dark folk track, the song’s demented wailing bridges really show a band ready to take the right kind of risks.
“Violence” moves from basic electronica to arena rock drums and a ramped-up energy that continues to build as the song goes on. It’s the subtle commentary of the song that really makes it stand out as a powerful piece of art, where it’s endless drone just doesn’t match up. There’s something missing to “Darkness At The Door” however, whose massive and happy explosions of energy are never granted any contrast to make them stand out. There’s also the choice to outro for what amounts to a quarter of the song, which feels tediously long.
There’s a calculated release to “Nothingness” as it really takes its time to make every drop feel epic. If anything, it’s the amount Editors’ seems to hold back in these big moments that keep the track from being an iconic track. Despite the creepy overtones of “Magazine,” Editors quickly turn it into a power ballad. Regardless of its more off-kilter moments however, the band’s comfortable seating may make it hard for the average listener to reach the song’s meaty drops.
The over-the-top melodrama of “No Sound But The Wind” is surprisingly potent as the album’s only real slow moment. While it teeters between emotional and cliché at any given moment, it avoids becoming a pastiche and uses its genre conventions to its advantage. Editors also use their mastery of subtle synth-work to layer the background of the track with a surprising amount of darkness and life as well.
Editors bring a sense of grandeur to the sheer unease of “Counting Spooks” and leave a weird sense of comfort within their menacing chords. They also mix in a blend of Imagine Dragons and Soundgarden within the song to make it feel constantly invigorating. As they switch to a dance section, they even show a bizarre writing edge that really comes out left field in the best way possible.
“Belong” beats along with a mysticism and a true sense of otherworldly lyricism that makes it feel like part of a story the album never even shows us. The ominous string arrangements offer a continuous oomph to the song’s meditated fury. Although it really takes time to hit its stride, the track closes out the record with a lot of promise.
Words by Owen Maxwell