Despite headlining festivals and topping charts in the Benelux region, the Editors have only enjoyed moderate success in the UK since the triumph of The Back Room. Nevertheless, the Birmingham band still carry some weight and have continued to evolve and bring out critically-acclaimed records for the past decade.
Violence is their sixth release and the most politically-charged of their career, with frontman Tom Smith more forthright with his lyrical content this time around. “It is a pointed finger aimed at those in power…some corrupt politician or businessman…a character, and a tongue-in-cheek poke at the empty posturing and playing to the masses of the power hungry”, he explained.
Barely recognisable from their earlier content, the line-up now consists of Justin Lockey and Elliott Williams following the loss of former guitarist Chris Urbanowicz two album cycles ago. The result has been a more expansive sonic exploration.
Produced by Leo Abrahams (Wild Beasts, Florence & The Machine, Frightened Rabbit) with additional production from Benjamin John Power (Blanck Mass, Fuck Buttons) and mixed by Cenzo Townshend, it is the most adventurous the Editors have been throughout their entire career.
Opener ‘Cold’ is a U2-esque triumph, with Smith’s impressive vocal range present for all to hear. Whilst it carries a stadium-friendly vibe it still manages to not venture down the gimmicky, lighters-in-the-air Coldplay avenue. ‘Hallelujah (So Low)’ then takes proceedings down an alternative road in the form of an industrial stomper that has shades of Muse with its heavy chorus.
‘Darkness At The Door’, meanwhile, then surprises the listener in what is the most ‘happy’ the sinister group have ever sounded. However, this doesn’t last for long as ‘Nothingness’ takes things back down the melancholic route.
The anthemic pop of ‘Magazine’ is one of the LP’s high points and is built around a rousing chorus, swelling keys and crunching, industrial chords, with its political lyrics striking an emotional chord.
‘No Sound But The Wind’ also made the cut on this record in what is a re-worked version of the previously released 2010 single that originally made the top spot in Belgium. Bringing proceedings to a close, ‘Belong’ ends it on a high with a biting but sprawling electronic pulse that slowly builds into an orchestrated banger.
“Baby we’re nothing but violence/desperate, so desperate and fearless,” sings Smith. He is a man of his word in what is a stylistic shift for the five-piece. It may not be their best release but it still has great moments and is certainly their most unique.