By now, Editors have tried their hand at post-punk, Depeche Mode-style synth ballads, goth-tinged arena-rock, and just about every other variety of 1980s English music in which anything short of total seriousness is seen as a sign of weakness. The irony is that with their supposed conviction you’d think they’d stick to a sound, though in the end that’s neither here nor there: No matter what mode they’re in, they manage to turn four-minute songs into small eternities.
Weight shifts from 2009’s comparatively electronic In this Light and on this Evening to leaden guitar rock, often accompanied by orchestra. In the absence of heart, brains or dancing feet, they resort to fists. Actual rage is out of the question, presumably because it’s déclassé, so track after track they pummel, slowly, aided by vibrato and violins. Even when the band manages some subtlety — “Hyena” and the Arcade Fire-esque “Formaldehyde” — there’s singer Tom Smith, out in front bellowing lines like “your bowling-ball eyes have nothing to say/they knock me over again anyway” with the import of Moses relaying the word of God. “Laugh with me now,” he pleads, in falsetto. But really, don’t. Don’t laugh.