The Post-Punk Crowd
Editors have built their neo-post-punk album An End Has a Start on a string of broken promises. The tickling yet noir observations on the record’s first single “Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors,” the gloomy exuberance of the band’s debut The Back Room, and singer Tom Smith’s assertion that An End Has a Start contains “a sprinkling of death” make for high hopes that the band has conveyed its Joy Division influence and bratty, swinging guitars into something new and bold. However, instead of sounding thoughtful, Smith’s vocals are more determinedly monotone and, instead of sparking high drama, the exaggerated guitars are shrill enough to provoke a headache. Despite the broken promises on An End Has a Start, the record has considerable merit. “Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors” has it all: a fun, fitful beat, wry lyrics, and a chorus of voices as an unexpected finish. “Spiders” makes creepy magic with its sparse approach and its direful declaration that “There’s spiders in your room.” Even better, Smith writes in the second person on nearly every track, giving the songs an inviting quality. This is especially effective on the band’s ballad “Push Your Head to the Air,” where the refrain “Now, don’t drown in your tears, babe” becomes more powerful than the sum of its words.
On a distant planet, this well-done record might make an impressive impact. However, Editors are confined to earth and must contend with the post-punk revival they are a part of. An End Has a Start keeps the band in the running, but does not move them to the front of the pack in their genre’s crowded landscape.