The Early November - The Mother, The Mechanic, and the Path
Release Date: July 11, 2006
Record Label: Drive-Thru Records
Alright, so here goes. There are a few things that I'm going to try to do during this review:
I'm going to try not to be biased.
I'm going to try not to fill this review with fanboyish love.
I'm going to try not to feel pain about the "Indefinite Hiatus."
But there are no promises.
The Mechanic, the electric first disc of this epic three disc concept album, begins simply with guitar distortion before it launches full throttle into Ace Enders' epiphany "Money in His Hand," in which he realizes that money is the only thing people care about. The guitar is crisp, the drums beat hard, and the vocals are beautifully raw, in classic Early November fashion. The rawness continues in the slow and free vocals of "The Rest of My Life." Single "Decoration," which again highlights human reliance on money has stellar verses before launching into the simple, one worded chorus.
"This Wasn't in Our Plan" is possibly the band's most epic song, and also possibly the best on The Mechanic. The lyrics beautifully relate a flaw in life plans to a rendezvous, and the mood of urgency is set by the quick guitar/drum beat. Despite being towards the end of the disc, "Make a Decision," continues the mood of urgency. Disc One finally does wind down with "Figure It Out," with soft guitars and soothing vocals.
The Mother, the more unplugged disc, opens with a simple piano line and fuzzy, soft vocals on "My Lack of Skill," which has one of the best themes of the whole album, naivete in love. The lyrics are simple and very easily relatable, and this song is a fast love. "Little Black Heart" is a somber tune that can comfort during hard times. Stripped down, the song finds Ace alone with his words and an acoustic guitar. Quirky songs "Hair" and "Driving South" will make you bounce and sing the soulful lyrics. The traditional music and Disc Two end with "1000 Times A Day," the story of an on/off relationship. From the trumpets that end the song, we are led into Disc Three, and everything is tied together.
The Path is not for everyone. It's lengthy and sometimes hard to listen to, but the disc is rewarding, as without it, the first two discs are full of songs that don't connect, and thats not how they are meant to be seen. The Path tells the story of Dean, a boy who was unwanted by his parents, who left him to his grandparents. He grew up in front of the TV, and quietly. He tells his Psychiatrist, Ace, of how he blames his parents for his crappy life. The gigantic forty-six song album ends with a twist in "A Bigger Meaning," which, for first time listeners, I will not give away.
The final song advises not to tie your life to "The Best Story Line..," which I see as ironic. This is the best story line I've ever heard of. Your perspective is changed. You learn to live, to move on, to work with what you have. Its brilliantly thought through. All forty-six songs are essential to the end. If this truly is The Early November's swan song, they went down swinging. The guitars are quick, urgent and refreshing on some songs, while slow, pretty, and comforting on others. The drums are crisp and upbeat. The vocals are raw but soothing. The songs are all different from one another, so the first twenty-two songs are a smooth roller coaster that keeps you interested. The band has created a kind on concept album not seen before. It was a bold move, but its endearing to see that they pulled it off better than anyone else I can think of could of. Theres only one thing I can say to all this.
I passionately hate the last disc of this album, to the point where it's clouded the entire rest of the set for me. There are some decent songs on those first two discs, but they're just buried among the trash... that last disc is a badly failed experiment.
"This Wasn't in Our Plan" is possibly the band's most epic song, and also possibly the best on The Mechanic." thank you for acknowledging this ive always thought this was the best song theyve ever written played exc. i loved this a,bum it is my favorite album of all time, this si my favorite abnd of all time....i dont get how people can still say TRTC although i love that album too, tmtmtp is better; this is what a rock album should be about.
i have to say i've really enjoyed everything these guys put out. never been disappointed in the slightest. the path just needs your full attention for one listen, save it for a long car ride or somethin.