Editors’ detractors have rightfully pointed out that the English quartet’s output is an amalgamation of other bands’ sounds, with games of spot-the-influence turning up such post-punk heavyweights as Joy Division, Echo And The Bunnymen, and The Cure. (Revisionist historians have put it more simply, calling Editors an Interpol rip-off.) But dissing a band simply because it borrows—albeit heavily—from the past means ignoring how pop culture got to where it is today, and in the case of Editors’ debut album, The Back Room, that criticism overlooked the fact that the group lived up to its aspirations by writing solid songs that were equal parts dark, catchy, and dramatic. From there, Editors have unfortunately followed Interpol’s career trajectory as well, releasing a sophomore disc that paled in comparison to its predecessor, then employing extra keyboards (much more significantly than their American counterparts, actually) to make a third album that seems to justify all of those style-over-substance claims. Produced by Flood, In This Light And On This Evening has replaced the memorable guitar lines with keyboard riffs, and while there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, Editors’ songwriting just isn’t as strong when the band is pilfering from Depeche Mode and Kraftwerk. Insufferably despondent leader Tom Smith starts some blasphemous rumors during the Violator-esque “Papillon” by letting us know that God doesn’t exist, and the band wasn’t joking when it said it was inspired by the Terminator theme, whose presence is unmistakable during the album’s best song, “Bricks And Mortar.” But the highlights are few and far between: Editors may have thought they were progressing by getting synthesized, but it’s ultimately a case of one step forward and two steps back.
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