For their third album, Editors have made a significant step away from the indie-goth stylings which prompted previous releases to be compared to Joy Division.
This time, they've ditched the guitars in favour of synths, cannily drafting in Mark "Flood" Ellis as producer, who brings a wealth of experience working with Soft Cell, Depeche Mode and Cabaret Voltaire to effect the change. On tracks such as "Bricks And Mortar" and the poppy "Eat Raw Meat = Blood Drool", the tinny, ticking drum machines and sinister synth tones combine to produce pulsing, energised grooves, infused with the monochrome melancholy of the late Seventies, an association Tom Smith's stern baritone vocals and abyss-oriented lyrics do little to disperse. The title-track opens at a high point, its John Carpenter-esque synth pulse overlaid with keyboard pads of moody foreboding, and an insistent sos bleep, while Smith intones an epiphanic vision of London. Elsewhere, there are echoes of Numan-oid electronica in "Papillon" and furtive, Residents-style discordancies in "The Big Exit"; but it's hard not to conclude that they've just made the same shift that Joy Division did when they became New Order.
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