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Editors “On This Light And On This Evening” (2009)

In a radical departure from their first two albums, Editors‘ 2009 album, “In This Light and on this Evening” veered away from the recognizable guitar sound of Chris Urbanowicz‘s guitar. Produced by longtime Depeche Mode and Nitzer Ebb collaborator, Flood, the album featured a dark, tight, electronic sound that was complimented by guitars, rather than the other way around, as the band had previously been know for.

The album features the band’s first number 1 hit single, Papillon and the recording sessions also produced No Sound But the Wind, their contribution to the soundtrack album for the second “Twilight” film, “New Moon”. Other singles released from the album met with varying amounts of success, but the band had effectively shaken off the shackles of being pigeonholed with a “sound”.

Of course, none of this was going through my mind the first time I heard the album. The first time I heard any of the music from this album the only thought I had was “WTF?”. I admit it: I hated the album the first time I heard it.

I was a fan of the band’s first two albums, especially the more accessible sophomore release, “An End Has a Start” from 2007. I liked the direction the band were going by focusing more on vocalist Tom Smith‘s piano and keyboard playing, and having Chris Urbanowicz‘s guitar become more melodic. Don’t get me wrong: I LOVE Chris Urbanowicz‘s guitar work, especially the jerky guitar stabs in tracks like All Sparks and Bullets, but I was just really enjoying hearing the band mix it up a little. I was happy to hear more keyboards, but I still wanted SOME guitars. What I didn’t expect (or want) was an album that seems to be almost exclusively keyboards, electronic bass, and electronically processed drums. The guitar doesn’t even show up in any recognizable form until The Boxer, which doesn’t even show up until track B2, at which point the album is nearly over, LOL!

Of course, my feelings have changed radically since then. When the dreaded vinyl finally arrived in the mail, I decided to give it a spin in the hopes hat I would find something to enjoy about the album. So, I dutifully cleaned it, placed it onto the turntable, plugged in my headphones, and put the needle on the record.

Maybe it was my frame of mind… maybe it was the lighting… maybe it was the clean sound of the vinyl as opposed to crap sounding audio streaming through youtube… but something hit me like a ton bricks. This was not a lousy album at all. In fact, it was absolutely breathtaking. I was stunned.

In This Light and on this Evening” opens with the very electronic mood-setting title track, which builds in intensity (and in menace) over the course of it’s 4 minutes. Expecting some kind of guitars, I admit to having done a double take when I first heard it. The track chugs along at its own pace, with guitars only showing up somewhere around the 2:50 mark, and even then they are processed and distorted in such a way that they almost sound like keyboards as well. I honestly didn’t know what to make of it.

The next track, Bricks and Mortar begins with a drum machine reminiscent of New Life off of Depeche Mode‘s first album, “Speak and Spell”. It weaves its way into a more organic drum track after a few moments, with a few guitar tracks off to the sides complimenting it, with keyboards playing upon a theme very akin to Brad Fiedel‘s Love Scene from the original score of James Cameron‘s 1984 “The Terminator” film; which is not surprising when you consider that, according to the NME in September 2008, the band wanted to record a “Terminator” influenced album.

This definitely comes across. Listening to the album for the first time, before I’d heard or read anything about it, I could hear the influence of Brad Fiedel‘s dystopian oeuvre in the music. At times, the album is cold, dark and menacing, with a longing for human contact. At other times, though, there is a gentleness and tenderness in the music.

Each song plays out like a small homage to London and its denizens, the electronic bleeps and squawks acting as representative for the sounds of the city itself, while the band visits various scenes and neighbourhoods, stopping briefly to explore them musically and lyrically. I get that now… but I didn’t get it when I first heard the album. All I remember is listening to it in my office and wondering if it was too late to cancel the vinyl copy that I had pre-ordered from Amazon…

Lucky for me, it was too late! I actually logged onto Amazon that evening with the intention of cancelling my pre-order, but the album had shipped earlier that day and so it was too late to cancel it. I say lucky, because this album has turned out to be one of my all time favourite Editors album, standing side-by-side with the follow up album, 2013’s “The Weight of Your Love”, which (funny enough) went back to guitars and bass.

Papillon, the third track on side A, was the band’s first number one single (although only in Belgium, LOL!). It bounces along with a galloping rhythm that feels almost like it would have been at home on a dance floor in the late 80s or early 90s, with lots of little bits that are very reminiscent of New Order.

You Don’t Know Love rounds out the first side of the album and it is another somber tracks with an insistent bass drum driving a Joy Divisionesque beat you can dance to.

The Big Exit, which begins with discordant screeching that sounds like a car engine stalling, is some kind of love song, which begins far more melancholy than you would think it should, but then it moves from the sweetness of “you already know the way I feel inside” to the angry chanting of “they took what once was ours”… that’s about as romantic an anything by Editors gets, but it ranks up there as one of my favourites.

The Boxer is one of the most beautiful tracks on the album, and another of my favourites. The subtly acoustic piano combines with a gorgeous guitar that twangs with a hint of a nod to Duane Eddie, creating another moody, rain swept panorama.

Like Treasure takes us into the final stretch of the album. This is another hypnotic track that pulses and seethes its way through it’s nearly 5 minutes. Only Editors could pull off lyrics like “You are what you eat, you’ll become digested. Well, love it isn’t felt. No, love is tested” and “You will keep forever, I’ll bury you like treasure”.

The title Eat Raw Meat = Blood Drool sounds disgusting, and some of the music echoes the sentiment with its jarring off-kilter stabs of sound, but it’s got a great chorus: “I give a little to you, I give a little to him, I give a little to her”. It is another outstanding track on the album.

Album closer, the gentle and subdued Walk the Fleet Road was the last song on the album that I finally fell in love with. I’ve never been a fan of slower songs; if the tempo isn’t quick enough, I generally tune out. So I admit that I never gave it a fair shake from the start. With its intro of gentle voices humming in chorus, and Tom Smith’s quiet delivery, the song just felt much quieter than it really is and I wasn’t interested.

It wasn’t until I was spinning the vinyl in the dark one night after work, feeling relaxed and not wanting to get up to stop the record player, that it finally clicked. It’s funny how the inconvenience of vinyl finally afforded me the opportunity to really listen and enjoy the song. It is a gorgeous way to end the album. It feels like the parting of the clouds at the end of the storm.

Another track that really should be mentioned is the single-only release Last Day. Recorded during the sessions that produced “In This Light and on this Evening”, Last Day is another one of my favourite Editors tracks. As always, the lyrics are dark and slightly morbid, but sound angelic. It’s what Editors are best at. I always make sure to include it in my playlist! (Scroll down for that!)

I Recently dug out all of my Editors albums, washed them, and gave them a spin. I was amused to discover that the ones that initially got me interested in the band (their first album, “The Back Room”, and second album, “An End Has A Start”) were no longer the ones I held most dear. I still love the singles from those albums, those blasts of sound and fury that got me interested in Editors in the first place, but there were quite a few tracks that just didn’t hold my interest any more.

To my surprise, it was the band’s third album, “In This Light and on this Evening”, and fourth album, “The Weight Of Your Love”, that were hands down favourites, with their fifth album, “In Dream”, coming in a very, very close second. Listening to them again, in full, I was blown away by the vistas that were created, and the moods that were evoked. These albums are absolutely essential to my collection.

I don’t even want to talk about their sixth album, “Violence”, to be honest. It was such a disappointment that I still haven’t listened to it more than a handful of times, and that was when it came out. There were a couple of tracks that I really liked but mostly… meh. Maybe one day I’ll take the time to revisit, but that day is not today.

Today is the day to celebrate Editors‘ third album, the absolutely glorious “In This Light and on this Evening”. It sounds like nothing else but itself, and yet it wears its influences on its sleeve: New Order, Joy Division, Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk, OMD, Oasis, The Cure, Echo and the Bunnymen.

What do you think? Had you heard of Editors before? Are you a fan? I’d love to hear from you!

Have I missed anything? Are there any songs I should have included in our playlist? Drop me a line in the comment section below! Remember to subscribe so that you don’t miss our next monthly (ish) post (We’ll never bother you more than once a month). PLUS! subscribers get a discount on any purchase made from us.

We have received no remuneration or compensation for anything we have reviewed in this article and the opinions expressed are genuine at the time of publication. We are not affiliated in any way with any of the products or services that may be mentioned in this article. Any suggestions or links are for your convenience only!

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