Monday, 17 October 2016

50 albums to take to my grave #43: An End Has A Start

Not for the first time I'm going against convention here. Most people will take Editors' debut album 'The Back Room' over everything else they did. But for me, the band's masterpiece was its follow-up, 2007's 'An End Has A Start'.

When I heard the album's lead single Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors, it stopped me in my tracks. I thought then what a fucking phenomenal track it was, and that hasn't changed in the intervening period. It was clear the band had moved on from the 80s post-punk vibe of the first album to something that required much larger spaces to gain full effect. The mood continues with the title track, and songs like Bones, The Racing Rats and Escape The Nest sound like they're striving for even bigger things. There's no doubt, Editors were announcing their arrival once and for all.

Yet for all the bombast and anthemic qualities of these big hitters, the absolute pinnacle of Editors' entire career (in my opinion) was reached by one of their tenderest, most moving tracks. The Weight Of The World has a Phil Spector drum beat and an absolutely heartbreaking vocal by Tom Smith. This song moves me to the verge of tears.

  "You touch my face / God whispers in my ear

  There are tears in my eyes."

I saw Editors at, of all places, Newport Centre on the 'An End Has A Start' tour and had I not seen Arcade Fire later that same month, it would have been the best gig of the year. Definitely one of the best live bands I've ever seen though, they were incredible. The energy of Tom Smith was breathtaking, and the new songs sounded massive.

Since this record, Editors have nosedived. The next album was a brave, if ineffective stab at electronica, while their fourth album sounded like they couldn't decide whether they wanted to sound like Echo & The Bunnymen or U2. They sounded like neither and the songs weren't that great either. Fortunately last year's 'In Dream' began to pick up the pieces and form them into something fairly credible again. But they are still a long, long way off making me feel how I do when I hear 'An End Has A Start'.


  1. I have to agree with you Robster. An End Has A Start is a stand out album, one of those albums that, as a sophomore effort, really shows growth and energy. The Racing Rats is a massive track. I will happily admit to loving everything this band has done, even Tom Smith's stab at covers - his take on Prefab Sprouts Bonny is gorgeous.

  2. As Echorich I also have to agree that An End Has A Start is one of the most underrated records of the last decades. It is fun to hear these songs again. Great job mate.

  3. I bought The Back Room in a charity shop and think I've probably only played it a couple of times
    Will give it a spin in the car tomorrow

  4. Loved the debut album. Saw them promote it at the tiny and legendary King Tut's in Glasgow and have it as one of my all-time favourite gigs.

    Was initially disappointed with 'An End Has A Start' and didn't play it much again beyond a month after purchase. However, just two years ago I gave it a listen again while sunning myself on a Caribbean beach and realised that it was an excellent record and that I'd been foolish to simply be seeking Mk2 of The Back Room in 2007.

    Brilliantly written piece.