You kind of have to feel sorry for Editors; they’ve historically been damned if they do and damned if they don’t. They seem to have picked up a reputation for being a little bit unadventurous, boring even, which has followed them around like a long shadow ever since they made the hardly unreasonable decision to follow up their universally-acclaimed debut, ‘The Back Room’, with more of the same on 2007’s ‘An End Has a Start’. Since then, they’ve made genuine efforts to diversify their portfolio; ‘In This Light and On This Evening’ experimented heavily with synth, while 2013’s ‘The Weight of Your Love’ played it straight and bold, referencing R.E.M. and Arcade Fire throughout.
If anything, the group seem emboldened by the general outside refusal to change their tune on the band. ‘In Dream’, their first self-produced record, sounds devoid of external pressure. It’s a cohesive album - incredibly pristine, with the production shimmering throughout - but at the same time, as diverse as anything they’ve ever put out. There’s dreamy electronica on opener ‘No Harm’, orchestral menace and no shortage of drama on the outstanding ‘Salvation’, and the gorgeous ‘At All Cost’ sounds like an accomplished take on the sort of sound MONEY have made their own; minimalist instrumentation and a barely-there falsetto from frontman Tom Smith.
When it works, it does so spectacularly; it’s just a shame that elsewhere, they revert to default mode. ‘Ocean of Night’ is risk-averse piano pop that seems to drag on longer than its five-minute running time, while ‘Our Love’ is by-numbers electro pop. Accordingly, ‘In Dream’ is an uneven affair; fabulously ambitious in places, and weirdly subdued in others.