‘Violence’, the newly released album from Editors, is both an incredible progression for the band while still maintaining the elements that caught everyone’s attention so many years ago when their epic debut album ‘The Back Room’ was released in 2005. Along with with bands like Interpol and White Lies, Editors have always been painted with a Joy Division trench coat-clad gothic brush but in ‘Violence’ they have magnificently proved they are more than that – they are creative and innovative songwriters and seasoned, accomplished musicians. They have, in the process, reached a level where this album could stand with pride next to anything by musical giants such as Peter Gabriel; exhibiting a higher level of craft and creativity in both songwriting, arrangement and production that establishes their position as one of the most exciting bands around.
In doing so, they have sustained a career far more successfully than many of their contemporaries, and the results are plain to witness in ‘Violence’.
The album starts with ‘Cold’, an eviscerating blast against indifference that starts as a slow burning fuse before exploding into a magnificent anthem imbued with stabbing strings and a horn-driven pulse-quickening chorus. Single ‘Hallelujah (Low)’ continues with epic musical slabs and quiet interludes: it is a frenzied yet restrained pop classic:
Title track, ‘Violence’, is a six minute epic that tips a hat to the darker Editors of yore: a sparser electronic pulsating tune that switches to a long, brooding, haunting outro. It’s a tribute to the innovation and creativity on display in the album.
The Peter Gabriel influences for me come to the fore in tracks like ‘Darkness at the Door’ which, somewhat ironically given its title, moves as fast as possible away from the darkness of the preceding track to something almost akin to a bright and jaunty pop song – as much as you could with singer Tom Smith’s distinctive melancholic timbre. ‘Nothingness’ – ‘We wait in line for nothingness, This angel needs some tenderness’ has a soul-based tinge with its emotional tone and an electronic bubbling stream under the surface.
This subtle soul flavour continues in second single ‘Magazine’: another anthemic and epic blast of melody and sky-high euphoric choruses:
‘No Sound But The Wind’ is the contemplative, yearning Editors, showcasing the emotive vocal style of Collins over a piano driven base. ‘Counting Spooks’ while appearing to be another brooding, ominous track has an underlying euphoric element and again makes me think of Peter Gabriel with its musical complexity and structure.
The album ends with ‘Belong’ – driven by a ticking clock and a rolling synth spine. It opens with a string-laden lullaby that gently leads into a darker, malevolent world that typifies the contrasting textures of Editors, moving from light to dark, quiet to loud, passive to aggressive, guitars to synths – ‘never belong, never belong to anyone else but me’.
This is an album that show a band at its peak of creativity, innovation and experience, a band that can evolve and change for the better while preserving the elements that made them such a fresh breath of air back on 2005. They take risks in this album that can only be borne from supreme self-confidence: a confidence that is justified and well-deserved.