In Dream is a progressive, experimental record that sees Smith and co. build on the old to create a compelling new record.
Over the years Editors have modified their sound and themes partly as a result of changes in the band’s formation – namely, the departure of Chris Urbanowicz after In This Light and on This Evening, and new band members Justin Lockey and Elliott Williams. With their last album being their only to not reach the UK top five, Editors have bounced back with In Dream, sticking to their signature emotive and moody tone but adding a pop experimental twist against Smith’s signature sombre tones.
With first single ‘No Harm’, Editors presented themselves yet again as moody and grungy. Dystopian and politically driven undertones are evident within its lyrics – “my children are spies” and “the system’s in red, the room is inbred” – setting the new album up as fairly similar to old material but less frantic and energetic, more slow and thought-provoking.
The track is followed by the more upbeat ‘Ocean of the Night’, a stark contrast which initially confuses the direction of the album. However, with female vocals from Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell, Smith’s moody tone is transformed into something more melancholic, hopeful and positive. Against a more upbeat guitar melody and a more percussive drumbeat, both male and female vocals rise above the instruments. As the vocals break, one can’t help but hear tones of Icelandic band Of Monsters And Men with their signature melodies resonating here in Editors’ choice of instrumental breaks. However, Goswell’s vocals are far more effective in ‘The Law’ as they bring a certain ethereal and seductive tone to the track, a much more clever contrast to the harsher electronic backdrop.
‘Salvation’ sees Smith deliver true vocal power as he swiftly changes from a soft tone to a passionate vocal delivery as he pushes the song forward, bellowing against bigger and bolder beats making the track more reminiscent of Editors’ old material. Likewise, ‘Life Is A Fear’ brings the old and new to In Dream with its Bronski Beat style melody, electronic Depeche Mode style grunge, Smith’s lyrical talent and wonderfully emotive falsetto.
As the album draws to a close, ‘At All Cost’ brings Smith back to his reduced, stripped-back material highlighting his own personal emotive vocal tone against a minimal backdrop. The eight-minute-long ‘Marching Orders’ soon follows drawing the record’s various elements together, and ending it on a high note of hope and solidarity.
Weaving in and out of the old and new, light and dark and reality and dreaming, Editors’ new record sees them progress musically and thematically despite a slightly confused start.
In Dream is out now via PIAS Recordings.