There was a point, in the intervening four-year period between their second and third albums, that Editors went from being experimental indie rockers with an identifiable retro edge to full-on ’80s pastiche band. The result, 2013’s The Weight Of Your Love was roundly criticised, but two years down the line the Birmingham band still don’t seem to have learned their lesson. While there is certainly more life to latest creation In Dream and, it must be said; a bit more depth, Editor’s stylistic insistence on a return to the glory days of synth-pop still sounds confused and indefinable as anything other than a testament.
The album’s appeal is largely derived from the presence of murky, shoe-gazing anthems like ‘No Harm’, ‘Life Is A Fear’, and ‘Salvation’, songs that offer an element of dark mystery, but are still capable of raising the drama levels. These tracks, along with the the devilishly dreamy ‘The Law’ and ‘Ocean Of Night’ (both done in collaboration with Rachel Goswell of SLOWDIVE) represent the record’s strongest section, and are the most in-tune with the album’s intended dream concept.
Beyond this though and things become far less interesting as In Dream begins to collapse in on itself. Attempts at radio-friendly pop ‘Our Love’ and ‘All The Kings’ sound kitschy and out of place, especially given the album’s overall theme. Similarly, slow numbers ‘At All Cost’ and ‘Marching Orders’ can’t help but descend into foot stamping, power-anthem parody. The fact that this is Editor’s first self-produced album suggests that this is a style they are happy to persevere with, and to say they are the worst offenders when it comes to recreating music from past eras would be wide of the mark.
As things stand In Dream, particularly at its sinewy, Violator-esque peak, is certainly an upgrade on the band’s last outing. Placed in the context of what proceeded it however, and it demonstrates a worrying dependence on its influences.