The album opens up with “Cold” and we’re met with a slow, subdued introduction consisting of light, repeated keys and Tom Smith’s distinct deeply melodic vocals, extra layered piano and simple percussion take the song out of first gear but thematically it’s appropriately named; very mellow, speaking of loneliness in life’s bigger picture, time will be up for us all in the end, let’s be lonely together, ghost along in life…and there’s a beauty in his melancholy that once again they’ve perfected; a good start here. “Hallelujah (So Low)” picks up next and again we’re given a predominantly steady opening; continuing with more synth, coupled with a hushed delicacy to Tom’s vocal delivery…before gang-vocals lead into an eruption of hard-hitting riffs and crunching guitar. Very much a song of light and dark but it’s balanced brilliantly.
The title track maintains the consistency going forward with its laid back, ambient approach to electronic pop music and is easily an album highlight…a song of disparity, it highlights humanities struggle to coexist in ways, growing further apart, with lyrics like “The last train will pull you through, at night the war still comes to you, it makes it harder to join the dots, the river gets wider in front of us”…the violence itself referring to the state of the world, the track then culminating in a frenzied climax, summing up the growing tensions worldwide and it’s been wonderfully done. Further highlights include lead single “Magazine” which is full of hooks and emotive vocals, as well as some wonderfully gritty guitar segments resulting in a highly enjoyable listen overall.
At just nine tracks long, there’s very little room for negativity here which is something I wish more artists would embrace when compiling track listings for finished records, but if I had to pick anything to bring this album down, it would be “No Sound But The Wind”…a delicate piano ballad and in its own right, it’s a sweet, sombre listen…BUT…it’s a re-recorded track that was once used on the soundtrack to “Twilight: New Moon” and to that I say “FUCK THAT!”…I don’t want to promote any shiny, sparkly vampire shit here! Keeping within the same tone however, the album closes on “Belong” which acts as a wonderfully sad metaphor for hidden passion, burning within but private and secluded…locked within the four walls of your own skin; a constant struggle. Overall it is a very restrained album and has nothing in means of classics like “Blood” or “Munich” but Editors have proven that less can certainly mean more. Sometimes violence CAN be the answer apparently.