Although this album was originally released a few weeks ago on Record Store Day (hoorah for Record Store Day), it has finally now seen a standard release via all the usual outlets.
Editors are a band who have seemingly found a fairly steady pace in the Indie/Alternative scene over
the last few years. Since the release of their debut album back in 2005 and the inevitable, but increasingly lazy comparisons to Joy Division, there has been a constant attempt to shift perceptions and
explore different styles (within reason) and try new things. This brings us to the recent release of ‘The
Blanck Mass Sessions‘.
During the making of 2018’s ‘Violence‘, the band enlisted the help of Blanck Mass to give a different style to the music, with the hope of using his own personal stylings to give the band a certain Drone/Noise element that perhaps has not been there previously – the aim seeming to be to develop to a far more Electronic style (something that has certainly been flirted with on the last two albums). A decision seems to have then been made between these initial recording sessions and the release of the final album that perhaps this new found sound was perhaps a little too Electronic. Which means that we now have the original sessions released. To anyone who is familiar with ‘Violence’ as an album, this is not
going to radically change your world and for me that has made me review my opinion on the
original (which I hasten to add I adored on release last year).
There are some interesting moves in this release. As a whole the vocals (other than the lead vocals)
are really low in the mix which doesn’t quite work, given how anthemic some of the final versions
actually were. Other than new addition, ‘Barricades‘ (which has an incredibly cool video by the way), everything else will be familiar.
The main difference to nearly every song on offer is a combination of heavy synths and less guitars. In fact, the only song that leaves a different feeling than the originals is ‘Hallelujah‘, which actually ends up sounding somewhat like the rest of the album could have done. There is a change in sound at the chorus and a sense that actually it is different enough. This unfortunately then shows up the rest of the album with a clear sense that the songs just aren’t different enough – this is certainly the case for the ‘Violence‘, ‘Darkness At The Door‘ and ‘Nothingness‘.
The concept about being brave enough is massively key to overall thinking about this album. The
idea of using Blanck Mass is one that must have come from a point of wanting to stand out and
to be something a bit different. Unfortunately what this album leaves is a sense that this was not
achieved, weirdly neither on this or on the final release. Despite singer Tom Smith’s claims that the
Electronic stuff is really Electronic, I am left feeling that it is very safe. There is nothing wrong with
the sessions but I just wonder if either party had been able to be bolder in their convictions then
what we could have ended up with would have been a truly amazing album. As stated already, I
really enjoyed last years album and was keen to see what this release would add, sadly its very little.