Editors have certainly raised the bar with their second album, with clean production on songs ranging from punchy guitar romps to heady and brooding slowburns, doting on themes such as death, anger and the faint silver lining of hope. Not to worry, in the hands of Editors, such dreary notions do not make for a morbid deathrock album by any stretch. At times, lyrics take on a quasi-religious intensity, and it’s only an adept, emotional singer like Tom Smith who can sing something like “You touch my face/god whispers in my ear/there are tears in my eyes/love replaces fear” without making it seem gag-worthy. His voice takes charge with compelling depth on each track, but is especially rich in standouts such as “Escape the Nest”.

This is a more serious album which, admittedly, has less immediacy and fewer “dance club hits” than The Back Door, yet the overall atmosphere, melodies and thought-provoking themes are the kind that become a part of you, turning more powerful with each listen. (Even with all its rewards, some have complained that the disc seems too introspective and autumnal to be a “summer album”, which makes its July release a bit of a puzzle). Perhaps the album’s only possible fault is the fact that each song strives for epic proportions, perfect production and gravity, with no rawness or lows to stand out from the highs. (Can an album sound too perfect?) Overall, An End Has a Start is an impressive achievement and will have fans shedding tears of joy. –Celine