After The Back Room was released in 2005, Editors were one of the most promising new bands. In fact their debut was the only one to rival that of Bloc Party’s Silent Alarm. And like Bloc Party, Editors strive for Big Statement rock and roll, in the form of dense Joy Division-esque post-punk.
In the last two years though, it sounds like Editors have stopped listening to Joy Division and focused on a steady diet of mid-80’s U2 and Snow Patrol. An End Has a Start is heavy on mid-tempo ballads that feel forced at times, and other times it works extremely well, as with the opening track “Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors”. But it’s always dangerous to open an album with a big blustery mid-tempo song, especially if your album has four more of them.
The band is at their best when they retain that dense post-punk sound on the faster, dancier numbers like the terrific title track, which is like a cousin of “Munich” from their debut. Problem is, those numbers are few and far between on this album. And when they do appear, like “Bones”, they’re weighed down by heavy-handed and banal lyrics like “All you can hope for is that the love you feel will equal the pain you’ve gone through.”
At times An End Has a Start feels like the band is unsure of the direction they want to go, which is signaled by the heavy presence of piano on many of the tracks. Perhaps Tom Smith is thinking of reinventing himself as the next Chris Martin, which doesn't come as too much of a surprise, many of the ballads like “When Anger Shows” have a Coldplay feel too it.
An End Has a Start is an ambitious record with a few highlights, but too many songs feel like they’re trying too hard to make beg statements, instead of just making those statements. The band has warmed over their sound to make themselves more accessible, but it’s a move that’s not necessary.