Editors - The Weight of Your Love | Album Review | By Volume

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Editors

The Weight of Your Love

Push your head towards the air.

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Author: on June 30, 2013
8.3
PIAS Recordings
June 28, 2013

“Can I start this again?” Tom Smith asked on the lead track of Editors’ incredible An End Has A Start. He couldn’t have pined for a more unbridled opportunity than The Weight of Your Love, a record which arrives after the collective sigh that greeted 2010’s In This Light and On This Evening has been silenced and replaced with a special kind of apathy reserved for pop’s least assuming fallen warriors. That drawn-out, pretentious tangent appeared to have derailed Editors’ growth towards something colossal, and few would have expected its successor to return with such a new form of energy. The Weight of Your Love doesn’t so much carry on in blissful ignorance as use the distance to impose an entirely new ethos, removed from any chapter of Editors’ past, and finally – even from the fingers of a definite fan – eliminating the Joy Division comparisons.

To take Smith’s falsetto(!) on “What Is This Thing Called Love” as the benchmark for the record’s new aesthetic would be wholly unfair to the consistency and general openness of the band’s approach to songwriting here, but it will likely serve as the starting point for debate as to what it means to be the new Editors. In a world where bands are too frequently defined by their vocalists, the Editors corner of this irritating trend has never borne too much scratch – Smith’s tightness, depth, and brooding intensity were hallmarks of him before his band. His drifting away from that grit and that directness here, in many forms but most prominently with his aforementioned upper-register exploration, is the most potent sign of a band released. But we need not analyse Weight by its changes, because if we did that, it would be in revisionism of This Light. It makes sense, here more than most places, to talk without context, and to start anew — so let us do just that.

It feels new, in any case; the grandiose nature of this record sits firmly in the elevated space between ambitious pop and passionate rock. “Nothing”‘s strings let in a sublime breeze, neither imposing nor covert, adorning the record’s most sombre track gorgeously in a manner à la Broken Records. But Weight is not a downtempo affair, never becoming trapped in claustrophobic annals, making the most of its widescreen potential, “A Ton of Love” recalling the Stones, and “Formaldehyde” hiding sparks of Springsteen behind its verses before slipping into a chorus vaulted by the softest and most expansive backing vocals in the band’s canon. “Hyena” is punchy but doesn’t rely on its single-mindedness to make it so, and “Sugar” rumbles with a National-esque undercurrent without feeling tightly-wound. These are unravelled versions of Editors’ most anthemic bullets, finding added dynamism in their breadth and maintaining all the most vital parts of Editors’ historic appeal in the overwhelming drum/bass combination.

Weight‘s less affecting cuts are ones where Editors’ palette repeats, but between opener “The Weight”‘s pounding heart and “Bird of Prey”‘s angelic outbound chant, there’s precious little which finds the band retreading old ground to find effect in travelled motifs or ideas. If In This Light was one of recent pop music’s most disappointing releases, Weight has to stand as an unmitigated and towering victory, one which broadens a once-trapped band’s sonic field but retains the dramatic vibrations that always made them compelling. It’s occasionally a bizarre listen, but always an endearing one, never tripping over its own importance or struggling for air. If we can call this a comeback album, we might also call it a tough one to follow.

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