Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Album Review - Editors

British rock quartet emerge from the shadows with second album An End Has A Start

Editors return to the musical limelight this June with the release of their second album, An End Has A Start. This much anticipated follow-up to The Back Room sees the band emerging from the shade of understated post punk promise to capture their encompassing live sound on tape for the first time. Whilst in An End Has A Start overproduction sometimes impinges on the distended interwoven sounds that gave the first album such appeal, Editors’ still retain enough of that musical cacophony and lyrical melodrama to keep fans of the first album engaged, although maybe only just.

An End Has A Start is typically a lot darker than its predecessor, showing obvious preoccupations with death and the power of redemption alongside a newer commercial confidence derived from the hectic touring of the last two years. First single and album opener ‘Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors’ allows Smith’s almost operatic vocals to surface above cleanly produced instrumentation, giving the lyrics a melodious intensity more distinguished than previously in 'The Back Room'. Raucous, pounding romantic punk interjections keep the musical appeal of the first album alive, but are somewhat diminished with power piano chords and the addition of a choir at the end of the track, giving the finished sound elements of overwrought punk-pop reminiscent of lesser bands and their stadium filling anthems.

Generic pop sensibilities are in evidence throughout the album, especially in the romping piano of ‘The Racing Rats’. Whilst there is still something of the new romanticism of Joy Division evident in the visceral appeal of ‘Push Your Head Towards the Air’ and ‘The Weight of the World’, there is also the sense that Editors have been unable to recapture the suffocating rawness that made The Back Room so exhaustingly satisfying. Garett ‘Jacknife’ Lee has accomplished quite a feat in wrapping the enormous live Editors’ sound up quite so succinctly in this album, but the fused layers of sound previously so characteristic of the band are pulled apart to achieve this, and the result is something a little more clinical and commercial that may leave you disappointed.

Where once Editors pushed their post-punk with a bit of a shadow in ‘Munich’, ‘All Sparks’ and ‘Bullets’ making way for deserved comparisons with New York’s Interpol, much of their new album sees the band bypassing the shade, proceeding directly to ringing guitars and the incessant downbeat crash-cymbal-bashing of every band trying to sound ‘big’. This is undoubtedly a ‘big’ sound for Editors, but you might miss those shadowy subtleties that made that first album quite so exciting.

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