Eh… Man. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, and even more than that, I hate to be mega-harsh on a band, but I’ve gotta say that I do not really get what the Editors were going for with this new record. I was SO excited for it; even more so when I found out it’d been delayed, and exponentially so after I heard the single, ‘Papillon‘. When I finally got the record geared up for a listen though… oh man. The opening/title track, ‘In This Light and On This Evening’, is a dragging dirge that seems to promise at every turn to explode into a crazy beat-driven song… and promptly never does. Contrast this with 2007’s An End Has A Start opener ‘Smokers Outside the Hospital Room’. That’s not to say I want the most approachable song first; that’s a formula I’m not terribly fond of. Just don’t put the creepiest, strangest one first either.
As I write this, I’m giving the album it’s 5th listen. Admittedly, I have not spend a great deal of time with it, and while I am coming around on a good half of the tracks, I still can’t shake the notion that something here is off. ‘Bricks and Mortar’, as well as ‘You Don’t Know Love’ serve to anchor the top of the listing, supporting Papillon at either end, earnestly trying to convince you that the record is relevant to your interests, but next comes ‘The Big Exit’. I almost included it to listen to, as an example of what is easily the low point of the album, but it seemed stupid to post a track and say “don’t listen to this, it’s awful.” The timing is all off, with a rapid percussion backing a smeared and ethereal synth melody, your ear is left confused as to what the aim of such a juxtaposition, not to mention the unsettling feeling of hearing Tom Smith sing higher than mid-range…
I can’t complain too much, though. ‘The Boxer‘ is a fine example of what the Editors are capable of when they really want to slow things down and get their brood on. The remaining songs, despite their bizarre names, make for a decent end. Perhaps maybe my problem was expectations. An End was my obsessive record of the spring, and I got fairly into In the Back Room this summer. I had high hopes that this record would really lock in the Editors as my best ‘find’ of the year. When it didn’t happen, I maybe gave the album too hard of a rap. It certainly did not meet expectations, but mine were so high that even though it falls far below the mark, In This Light still comes out to be a decent set of songs.
If you’re a big Depeche Mode fan, or into some related or similar sinister-synth type music, then the Editors have written an album just for you. For those of us waiting for a follow-up more in the vein of their earlier work, we’ll just have to grit our teeth and dance extra-hard to ‘Papillon’ to make up for the frowning the rest of the tracks are sure to induce.