Review Summary: Moving towards a more expansive and anthemic sound, Editors once more impress with a very good album of accessible indie-rock.
Among the handful of bands that UK quartet Editors were compared to on their excellent 2005 debut ‘The Back Room’, was American group Interpol. To continue the comparison, follow-up release ‘An End Has A Start’ recalls Interpol’s ‘Antics’ with its liking to move towards a more expansive and anthemic sound in order to pull in new fans, while still attempting to please their established fanbase.
It is almost contradictorily strange then that the opener here was chosen as this album’s lead single. ‘Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors’ still contains Tom Smith’s unmistakeable baritone voice, as well as the insistent drumming and sweeping guitars of the debut. It distinguishes itself however, with its 5 minute length and choir-assisted finale. Yet, it is hardly a cut that was ever going to take the mainstream by storm.
It seems an opportunity missed, especially since the following title track and second single is so impressive, accessible and immediate. Beginning terrifically with synths and drums setting up an almost fist-pumping guitar hook that U2 would be hard-pressed to match, Smith finds just the right balance of showing off his trademark voice, but toning it slightly down to reach as great an audience as possible. Later, third single ‘The Racing Rats’ and ‘Escape The Nest’ also contain great propulsive guitar hooks to achieve similar results.
Elsewhere, Editors often ride a fine line in the melodrama stakes. Tracks such as ‘The Weight of the World’, the piano-assisted ‘When Anger Shows’ and the haunting chime-like guitars of ‘Spiders’ fall on the positive side of the ledger, even if lyrics such as ‘Every little piece of your life will mean something to somone” and “How can you know what things are worth if your hands won’t move to do a day’s work” will be equally loved and disliked amongst listeners.
Conversely though, the approaching 6 minute long fourth single ‘Push Your Head Towards the Air’ and closer ‘Well Worn Hand’ both unfortunately cross the line. They simply come off as too depressing and overwrought even if the former song is not intended to. The closer deals with the suicide of a close friend of Smith and there is actually a loose theme surrounding tragedies heard throughout the comparatively direct lyrics of this album. This was due to a number of deaths and illnesses close to him at the time. These themes do not necessarily hurt the LP, but it is a little disappointing that they do not help a great deal either.
When all is said and done, Editors have once more put together a very good album of accessible indie-rock with their 2nd full-length release. ‘An End Has A Start’ may disappoint some listeners since it is not as consistent as its predecessor, yet it arguably overcomes this with a handful of nicely spread out anthems that hit the mark impressively. This is very much recommended for fans of the band’s debut and possibly a better starting point for those wanting to give Editors a listen.
Recommended Tracks: An End Has A Start, The Racing Rats, Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors & Escape The Nest.