With a flair for the dark and dramatic, Editor’s second album is epic and depressing while mixing even more pop elements in. An End Has a Start swings more towards modern pop than its predecessor, while keeping the ominous post-rock vibe that they’ve built their reputation on. Quick dance rhythms, expansive guitar drives, and singer Tom Smith’s throaty voice bear a lot of weight, and, though barely, the album’s integrity ultimately supports their ambition.
In the process of maturing into their sophomore album, Editors exchange radio-ready melodies for more intense, seemingly inspired tunes. The album’s opener, “Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors” has a deliberate gallop as a pounding piano, piercing guitar, and Smith’s vocals rise throughout and finish in a climax of an operatic sing-a-long chorus and driving rhythm. It’s as forceful as most of its drama-pop contemporaries. The next, and title, track recalls their first album with a fluttering drums, high-pitched distortion, and Smiths’ biting refrains, but has a thicker sound than previous efforts. “The Weight of the World” is a slow 60’s-ballad with a new facelift. An End Has a Start is based on these three major sounds: epic pop, fleeting post-rock, and poignant, yet somber, serenades.
What sets this album apart, though, is the darkness-saturated lyrics. “The saddest thing that I’d ever seen/Was smokers outside the hospital doors” starts the album’s tone. On “When Anger Shows”, Smith croons about ultimate morbidity (“Something you thought would always be there/Will die/Like everything else”). During “Push Your Head Up Towards the Air”, he laments “There’s people climbing out of their cars/Lining the roadside trying to glimpse at the dead”. An End Has a Start is a shot of melancholy from a 24″ needle.
Editors build their sound further on their second album, and though it’s thoroughly depressing, its musical tone is uplifting in a way, through its grander scale. The radio stations might not agree with its direction as much, but it’s more progressive, and despite its gloomy tone, achieves a higher level than their debut.