“My world just expands/Things break in my hands/I’m a go getter,” intones Tom Smith mordantly in No Harm, the opening track of Editors’ fifth album.
A return to the electronic sound that dominated the band’s last album but one, In This Light and On This Evening, rather than the sombre, Joy Division-like post-punk with which they made their name, this still seems like music with sadness at its core, thanks in no small part to Smith’s lugubrious baritone.
Song titles like Ocean of Night and Life is Fear and choruses such as “Forgiveness makes fools of all of us” hardly lighten the mood.
In Salvation, Smith finds a chink of light – “Son, you were made to suffer/Oh but the morning comes” – yet night and its dark “temptations” soon extinguish it. “Loneliness forever,” he sighs in All The Kings.
Fans of Depeche Mode and Ultravox will find In Dream is familiar territory but it could do with a few more memorable melodies to lighten the load.
Seventeen years since Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook last combined their considerable talents on an album of original material, the pair are at last back with a record that’s been heavily featured in Danny Baker and Jeff Pope’s nostalgic sitcom Cradle to Grave.
The Squeeze pair grew up in the same neighbourhood as Baker and found much to identify with in the Seventies-set comedy’s scripts – even, as Difford has noted, down to falling in love with the same art teacher, and it has inspired some fine song writing.
The title track is a rollicking call and response number, with Tilbrook on ukulele, the lovely, string-led Sunny is McCartney-esque while Happy Days is a cheery back-to-the-country track that speaks of open roads and endless summers. Long may this incarnation of Squeeze continue.
Lana Del Rey may have yet to better her breakthrough single Video Games but here on here third album she gives it a darn good try. The jazzy, slow burning Terrence Loves You, an apparent homage to Terrence Malick, director of elusive, impressionistic films such as Badlands and Tree of Life, is as sumptuous a ballad as she’s recorded in the last three years. That it’s reminiscent of the atmospheric work of 80s indie supergroup This Mortal Coil, and even includes an interpolation of David Bowie’s Space Oddity, only adds to its allure.
Its floating refrain “You are who you are” could well sum up 30-year-old Del Ray’s entire output to date. Cinematic, down tempo, obsessed with faded Fifties glamour and ill-fated pulp fiction romance, she and co-writer Rick Nowels created a template to which he’s resolutely stuck. But it’s a good one, and it works, so really why not?
The stylish lilt of God Knows I Tried, the sophisticated sway of Salvatore and the Bond theme-like 24 are as attractive as anything currently troubling the charts.
A decade on from the disappointing Waiting For the Sirens’ Call, New Order return with their first album that doesn’t feature the bass-playing of Peter Hook. In his place comes Tom Chapman, from Bernard Sumner’s side project Bad Lieutenant, and a raft of collaborators.
While lead single Restless is catchy and familiar dance-rock, Singularity bears the production hallmarks of Tom Rowlands, from the Chemical Brothers, pushing pulsating synths to the fore.
La Roux contributes backing vocals to the Chic-meets-Balearic house of People on the High Line while Iggy Pop is a slightly incongruous presence in Stray Dog.
Superheated, featuring The Killers’ singer Brandon Flowers, however, provides a likeably poppy conclusion to Music Complete. Whether, as Hook continues to contend, New Order are quite the same without him remains a moot point, but this album does at least suggest there’s life yet in one of Manchester’s most cherished groups.