This Editors article was written by Kieran Stowell, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Nick Roseblade
Self produced records come with risks, especially if a band is unsure on what kind of record they want to make. This may result in bands wildly hurling ideas at a wall and praying that something sticks. However, with the proper care and attention, a self produced album may just be one of a band’s greatest achievements.
“It’s a real studio record, made in isolation by the 5 of us” is the description Editors frontman Tom Smith gave for their new record “In Dream” and it could not have been described any better.
“No Harm” marks the beginning of the record with little more than a drum machine, a synth and the sound of Smith’s baritone voice as he sings the morbid opening lines “I’ll boil easier than you crush my bones into glue … I’m a go-getter” While the song is a simple slow builder, the final chorus bursts into a climatic symphony of synths and strings, but at no point does it become excessive, instead feeling like a natural ending.
“In Dreams” penultimate track “At All Cost” shares a similar beauty. It’s one of the few songs on the album to feature a guitar, but it beautifully sets up the slow melody, which makes it even more heartbreaking when you hear Smith’s voice crack as he practically begs; “Don’t let it get lost.” Again the band take the minimalistic approach to their music, adding only what is necessary to create a track that’s near impossible not to be emotionally invested in.
Only a third of the record’s tracks are slow and sparse, “Salvation” is an 80’s synth pop number, turned into an epic with its crashing drums and heavy use of strings. “Ocean of Night” follows more closely to a standard pop song, opening with a rhythmic piano, the track builds up the bass line, guitars and drum beat after every chorus almost as if Smith is introducing each band member in turn. The track also introduces Slowdive’s Rachel Gosswell whose smooth voice accompanies Smith’s on the majority of the album’s tracks.
The music of “In Dreams” is unique, blending electro synth pop with an indie band set-up that fills you with intrigue, but at no point does it detract from Smith and Gosswell’s harmonies. That being said, there are times on the record where it feels like the band has tried a little bit too hard to create something hit worthy. “Forgiveness” is a simple pop rock song that feels more like the band trying to create a single rather than something to fit the context of the record.
Meanwhile the album’s finale; “Marching Orders” is an epic power balled utilising every aspect of the band musically while Smith puts his vocals to the test, however again the track feels like it was designed specifically for the sake of band promotion with the final lines “tryna keep warm” being repeated an excessive amount of times which would be an entertaining way to close a live set but not an album.
‘In Dreams’ is out now on Play it Again Sam