When is Violence the answer, is that really the question that Editors are asking?
When I say Editors, I’m not referring to Jon and Co. here at B.G.M. Although I’m sure they would wish to reign this down on me at times. No, I’m referring to the English rock band Editors, who have just released their sixth studio album, Violence. It has been three years since they released their last album, In Dreams. That album dented the top five in the UK, as well as making the US Heatseekers Billboard chart as well.
Over the years, Editors have always had synths and an electronic element to their sound. They’ve never followed the preconceived notions of what an Alternative rock band should be. But, they’ve always retained that guitar sound, making songs that uplift the spirits, and sound amazing at shows. Their progression has been interesting to watch, especially on this side of the pond. In the UK, each of their releases is always received with a feverish anticipation from the UK press and fans alike.
Violence was recorded between 2016-2017, co-produced between the band and Leo Abrahams.
Editors also confirmed in an interview on BBC that during the writing process, they received help from Blanck Mass. This is the pseudo name of Benjamin John Power of Fuck Buttons. He helped them figure out the sound they were aiming for on Violence. They wanted to make the electronic elements of the album sound huge, with a guitar/traditional sound to match it. In other words, they wanted all of the band to come to the forefront, not just one element.
In doing this, they are trying to stretch their musical muscles on Violence. They’re trying to create something new, whilst not alienating their fan base at the same time. This is a tall order to do at times. Fans always say they want something new, but they tend to rebel when it happens. As soon as it changes from a band’s traditional sound, the pitchforks (pun intended) are out with venomous rage. So, from that point of view, Editors are trying to please everyone but may risk pleasing no-one.
So, the good news about Violence first……
Musically, Violence is not far from their traditional sound; the electronic elements sound fantastic as ever. It blends together with a natural ease, something that isn’t really surprising from a top act like Editors. Their sound on tracks such as “Hallelujah (So Low)” and the title track are reminiscent of Depeche Mode, but without the devastation and drug abuse. Over the nine tracks on the album, they explore the themes of human connection. They delve into the human soul, looking at the need to contact loved ones when times are hard.
The production by Editors and Leo Abraham is breath-taking. The crisp sound of “Nothingness” for instance could have sounded clunky, but they’ve made it compelling. The mournful tone of “No Sound but the Wind” is haunting. But at the same time, they manage to make it sound like a companion for those dark moments. By the time you reach future single “Belong” (trust me, it’ll be released as a single), you’ll feel relief. You’ll feel like the band has taken you on a journey and Violence is a cathartic release.
Then there is the jewel in the crown of Violence – “Magazine”.
When “Magazine” was first released in January, I didn’t think too much of it. It was a decent number, but I heard it in a hurry. Over the next few days after first hearing it, I was getting an itch to check it out again. This feeling wouldn’t go away, so if only for my own sanity, I put it on again. Since then, I have to say, I listen to “Magazine” at least once a day. It might be a British thing, but this song is a stunning mixture of their electronic and traditional indie guitar sound. It has that mystic quality that defines all of my songs of the year. What a track!
So, does Violence have any issues?
Well, nothing that is not superficial, to be honest. A few numbers such as “Hallelujah (So Low)” and “Belong” could lose a minute or two. But apart from that, I cannot see any major issues with this album. At this point in their career, bands like Editors should be approaching the end of their career or plateauing, not finding a fresh set of legs. Violence is an emotional journey which defies traditional expectations of this sort of band, defying what it means to be an Alternative Indie band and shows the world what you can do when you’re on the top of your game.
Violence is the best work Editors have released, hopefully leading to greater things and not be a full stop.
Owner of more Frank Zappa music than one human needs, two cats and looked after by an Angel, Eddie Carter thinks about music more than a Geordie should. Hailing from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK, Eddie spends most of his time surrounded by CD’s and records. He also writes for All The Time I Was Listening to My Own Wall of Sound, his beard is grey and not long enough – also, he wants a pint.