“It breaks my heart to love you, it breaks my heart to love you,” croons Editors vocalist Tom Smith matter-of-factly during “Sugar,” the second track on the band’s splendid new album The Weight Of Your Love. Previously, the band have often reminded me of The Killers and Franz Ferdinand, but not so much on this offering, which has more in common with mid-career Depeche Mode and “Terrible Lie”-era Nine Inch Nails. It’s a cold, mechanical style of percussion that links most of these tracks together. The songs are still catchy, but they’re also dark and edgy. “The Weight” combines throbbing, insistent drum beats with raw, metallic bass guitar riffs and sharp, piercing guitars to craft something that at once feels inaccessible and entirely infectious. It’s as though the band wants you to love and hate it at the same time, to love it in spite of itself. To that end, I can see why so many critics have been dismissive of the album, but I’ve found it to be quite the grower. But then I think I spend a lot more time listening to an album before reviewing it than most critics do, so perhaps their reviews would have been more receptive if they weren’t so quick to write it off as a failed experiment. But experiment is the keyword here. I appreciate the fact that the album finds the band experimenting, shaking things up, as opposed to simply re-writing one of their previous efforts and playing it safe. Also, while The Weight Of Your Love might find Editors wearing their influences on their sleeves, particularly Springsteen and Bono, at least they’ve opened themselves up to influences that we had not previously heard in their music. (The band recorded the album in Nashville with producer Jacquire King, best known for his work with Tom Waits and Norah Jones. The Nashville style of storytelling through songs would seem to have rubbed off on them, meanwhile the album features plenty of the brutal honesty Waits and Jones are known for.)
Contrary to what some critics might have you believe, not all of the songs on The Weight Of Your Love are cold. “What Is This Thing Called Love” features lush, soothing strings and delicate piano along with some of Smith’s most lovely falsetto to date. “If we weren’t so good at this, we would have both been fine,” he sings. You could fault the song for being a bit Coldplay-ish, but I found it to be much more genuine than most Coldplay singles. The ballad “Nothing” is warmer still with just shiny enough synth along with affecting strings. “Every conversation within you starts a celebration in me,” Smith sings earnestly. In another life, he was probably a beatnik poet.