Editors’ “In Dream”: Music review

I was skeptical when Editors went synth on their third album, but that album has proven to be momentous and phenomenal in a way that has taught me to be patient with their releases. So when I didn’t immediately explode with excitement upon first listening to “In Dream,” I reserved judgment and gave the album several more measured listens, as this incredible work began to expand and grow.
The first track certainly signals a departure from the huge epic sound of prior album openers like “Hospital doors” and into something far more minimalist – a simple synth riff and a measured vocal. The second track continues this direction with lightly pressed piano chords accompanying tenor vocals over a soft kick-drum, opening up into a finely balanced slightly poppy synth-rock anthem. The third song continues in this vein, and the album is a far cry from the U2-esque bombastic anthems of “The Weight of Your Love,” and while their third album “In This Light And On This Evening” was wall to wall synth, there’s something different at work here in “In Dream” in the way they draw on deep 80s synth while retaining a stripped down stark feel to many of the songs. The usual Joy Division and New Order influences are here – but there’s more from the 80s that seems to be echoing in the songs: Visage, Alphaville, Aha. The percussion in “The Law” has elements of Phil Collins’ “In the air tonight” and Aphex Twins’ “At the heart of it all” (note the strange “Lost Boys” melody ghost in here too) while the final track – “Marching Orders” – sounds like something Bruce Springsteen could sing.
It’s a rich and varied work, and the choice of sounds and effects is careful and textured, and repeated listens only serve to plant the songs deeper and deeper into the memory.
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