Rapidly running down the other side of the critical respect and commercial success hill, Editors need something spectacular from album number four to reverse the slide. While it seems a little facetious to criticise a band for trying to evolve their sound rather than revisit their earlier influences, The Weight Of Our Love suffers from a critical lack of focus. Certain moments do recall the brilliance of their earlier work, though the ball that was dropped on the band’s forgettable third album remains pertinently out of reach. In fact, even a return to the synths of ‘Papillon’ would be welcome on an album void of any semblance of originality.
In terms of the positives, lead single ‘A Ton of Love’ is a buoyant spiritual successor to ‘Munich’ and ‘Blood’ from the band’s debut, while ‘Formaldehyde’, ‘Sugar’ and ‘Honesty’ promise to be lively additions to the live set, though highlights such as these are in the minority. Pulsating drums are jettisoned for strings and slouching rhythms, none more prominent than the woefully introspective ‘What Is This Thing Called Love?’. Built on a rocky foundation of falsetto, the lyrics borrow heavily from a cabinet marked ‘clichés’ in the back of Tom Smith’s mind, it sees the brooding frontman tending to a broken relationship, wavering between medical imagery and boxing analogies.
The album’s opener, ‘The Weight’, sets the tone. Gloomy and powerful, it hints at an exciting new tone but the track, much like the work as a whole, never really gets going. ‘Sugar’ remedies this to a degree but, again, it stops short of achieving its potential. As the album progresses, we are treated to ‘Nothing’, unfortunately the name is indicative of its legacy, and the colour-by-numbers ‘Two Hearted Spider’. Drab beginnings lead to an inevitable key change – it is predictable and dull.
The departure of guitarist Chris Urbanowicz has yielded a shift in sound and though often criticised for being one dimensional, his guitar playing lent the band its signature sound and, indeed, its identity. In this absence, there is a lack of cohesion and it all seems a little haphazard. On the whole, The Weight Of Our Love offers little in the way of surprises and even less in the way of delights. It is a shame as Editors are more than capable of creating memorable and exciting indie rock, rather than this misguided step toward a slower-paced, and utterly forgettable, sound.