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Hidden gems: Editors – An End Has a Start

Written by Music

As my tenure as editor of this fine publication draws to an end, it seems fitting to review the work of a band known as Editors.

I first stumbled across the Birmingham-based five-piece through a friend back in 2011. It’s difficult to describe their music, but the word that overwhelmingly comes to mind is melancholy. It isn’t music to dance to, and I doubt you would ever hear it in a club, but it is music for when you’re feeling pensive and in the need for reflection. Comparisons are hard to draw, but I have always marked their music as a similar genre to White Lies; Wikipedia informs me that the band are dark wave, described as a “gloomy and melancholy variant of new wave and post-punk”, and for Editors this makes sense.

Released 13 years ago today, An End Has a Start is the band’s second album after 2005’s The Back Room, which was an excellent debut. An End Has a Start‘s simplistic album artwork is reflective of its content: the music is calming, relaxing and somehow perfect for brooding over. The album flows incredibly well, to the point where it is hard to distinguish between songs; there are overwhelming similarities between the tracks, and while this can be seen as repetitive and mundane, this is part of what makes the album so therapeutic to listen to.

The reflective lyrics are somewhat poetic

Stylus Magazine described the album as “a record that’s so deathly serious that each of its ten songs could be associated with its very own biblical plague”, and this does ring true. The reflective lyrics are somewhat poetic, with Tom Smith’s deep vocals providing a gloomy overlook straight from the start with the intriguingly-titled ‘Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors’ setting the tone for the rest of the album. Punk elements can be heard throughout the album, with upbeat songs such as ‘Smokers…’ and ‘When Anger Shows’ contrasting with the other generally slow-paced tracks. It’s not all doom and gloom though: the band’s playful nature is shown in ‘Spiders’, which apparently includes the sounds of them playing hide-and-seek.

Since first listening to the album, ‘Escape the Nest’ has been my personal favourite. In comparison to the other melancholy tracks dominating the album, this song is bursting with life, though the tempo varies throughout. The lyrics don’t make a lot of sense to me, with them attempting to paint a comparison between life as an ant and relationship problems, but this doesn’t really matter – at the end of the day, it’s just a good song.

The album was certified platinum in the UK on the day of its release, 25 June 2007, and yet it arguably is still a hidden gem. Since their formation in 2002, Editors have continued to release music, with their sixth album gracing listeners in 2018, however their alternative style means they’ve never quite made it to the mainstream. Described by NME as ‘dark disco’, Editors certainly have a unique sound, and perhaps this album showcases the best of it.

Last modified: 25th June 2020

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