To put it plainly, An End Has a Start doesn't have the electricity of Editors' first effort. And let's face it, The Back Room was a tough act to follow -- it was a damn near perfect debut, delivering a compelling set of cathartic, nocturnal neo-post-punk songs. The problem is not simply that there isn't a track on this release that comes close to the visceral, resonant power of "Bullets." The problem is that there isn't really a memorable moment here, period. And it's a big deal, because it makes Editors, for all their musical prowess, sound practically average. The lead single, "Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors," charges out of the gate with pounding, purposeful drums and surging guitars only to stumble into a muddy, oddly forgettable hook, and "Bones," in spite of its needling momentum and affecting lyrics ("In the end, all you can hope for/Is the love you felt to equal the pain you've gone through...Your face in my hands is everything that I need"), somehow fails to come to a satisfying climax. Editors are reaching for something here, but one gets the sense that they never quite grasp what they're aiming for. The inspiration and exploratory spirit found on the first album are not here; most of the material, albeit well crafted, sounds pretty safe. It's consistently moody, licked throughout with tame fire, at times not entirely unlike (forgive the comparison) something Coldplay might put together in their edgier moments, especially in the case of "Push Your Head Towards the Air" and "Well Worn Hand." Make no mistake: this is a decent album; it bears a craftsman-like solidity and many fans will no doubt be satisfied (and, more than that, happy) with it. But An End Has a Start is simply not the best album Editors are capable of putting together. Hopefully it's just a sophomore slump and not, in fact, the beginning of the end.
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