The sophomore disc An End Has A Start of British quintet the Editors has what you’d expect if you heard any songs form the band’s debut The Back Room. It’s a struggle to see if that’s a bad thing or a good thing.
I think a band like the Editors can sometimes suffer from the Metallica effect. Metallica lead singer James Hetfield didn’t have much vocal range, and so many Metallica songs sound similar – again, not necessarily a bad thing. But that wouldn’t be completely Editors lead singer Tom Smith’s fault. Lead guitarist Chris Urbanowicz lacks as much variety in the chords and rhythms, so it seems to be a problem for the entire band.
Could it be that the Editors are just playing it safe with its second album like so many other bands (Interpol comes to mind) by not deviating too much from their successful stylings? Yes and no. Sometimes bands need a few albums and a few years of seasoning to establish their own sound while also experimenting with new ones.
The opening track “Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors” is surprisingly mellow when compared to the active, more energetic songs that the band is known for. It even has a transcendent anthem-like quality to it, with Smith’s restrained vocals and lyrics (“The saddest thing that I’d ever seen was / smokers outside the hospital doors”), and with the choir chants near the song’s end.
Calm is a word that I never thought I would ever use to describe an Editors song. But here we go. Like “Smokers” the Editors go the similar mellow route with “The Weight Of The World.” But instead of being restrained, Smith is calm, even sedate. It’s a song that I like to describe as sunset rock.
It’s odd why the band chooses to include so many instrumental bridges in their songs. “Put Your Head Towards The Air” is an example where the song shifts into instrumental solos toward the end, but the result is a harsh guitar screeching buildup instead of the more classic soothing ritardando. The former is annoying, while the latter is eventually realized with some hums toward the final forty seconds.
The most accurate way to describe this sophomore album would be to call it The Back Room 1.5. There are elements of the debut album and the band’s more traditional upbeat rock songs like “Bones” and “Escape The Nest” with their very addictive guitar melodies. But those are too few and far between.
That’s not to say the band isn’t successful with their downbeat (maybe even dreary) efforts. The band is, but the differences between those tracks and the upbeat stuff are too polar and noticeable. A better blend would the band’s next step, similar to the emotive but cool “The Racing Rats” or the disco-like “Spiders.” An End Has A Start is an enjoyable album, but its likeability is the confusing question.
For those in need of more Editors love, the “Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors” CD single includes two b-side tracks: the depressing “An Eye For An Eye,” and the down-to-earth sunset rock-like “The Picture.” For those that like the band’s sophomore disc, please do check out those two tracks on the single.