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Album Review
The Early November - In Currents Album Cover

The Early November - In Currents

Reviewed by
8.0
The Early NovemberIn Currents
Release Date: July 10, 2012
Record Label: Rise
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
This wasn't planned. There wasn't supposed to be a reunion show. There was never supposed to be a contract with Rise Records. In Currents was never supposed to be conceived. As far as the Jersey quintet was concerned, The Early November died in 2007. So how the hell did we get here? What caused the band to reunite and subsequently release arguably their best record to date? What higher power must we thank?

I guess we (the fans) are to thank. After all the support and excitement shown by fans after the band's one-off reunion show in 2011, the band felt re-energized, reconnected with one another, and had a few jam sessions. Those jam sessions turned into ideas which turned into demos which eventually turned into the record you're spinning from your turntable today. Or maybe it was the time they spent apart from each other. Whatever the cause, I'm not going to bore you with those details (I'll let Evan Lucy do that. You should check out his feature on the band in the most recent issue of Alternative Press). Instead, I'm going to write very nice things about In Currents - the album The Early November have been striving to make ever since they put pen to paper on that Drive-Thru contract.

The Early November's third studio album isn't some sad attempt at relevancy. Hell, the band was hardly recognized when they were touring on their three-disc opus The Mother, The Mechanic, and The Path. Instead, In Currents is a result of five humans rekindling friendships and creative juices to create something special – an album that sums up all the trials and tribulations of The Early November. Ace Enders has spent the last few years releasing a handful of solo albums, and that experience is littered throughout. His vocal delivery flows between gritty and silky smooth, conveying every emotion beautifully in each of the album's twelve tracks. It's accompanied perfectly by the band's songwriting as well. The somber opening track “A Stain On The Carpet” is a perfect example of what to expect on In Currents. Enders alludes towards the band's legacy (“Letting it sink in for days/so if you ever fall into dementia/it won't let you forget) while the music behind him slowly but steadily crescendos into crashing cymbals and driving riffs.

Throughout the album, Enders tackles topics such as relationships, trust, love – really just life as we know it. Enders and the band have done a lot of growing these past six years and it shows in the lyrics and music, as In Currents embraces its duality between fragility and brashness. You're immediately reeled in by the coarse guitar tones (“Frayed In Doubt” and “Guilt & Swell”) just as you're easily transfixed by vulnerable acoustic numbers where Enders' voice strains behind each word (“That's Not Your Real Name”). And there's “Digital Age,” a song that is both soothing and caustic all at once. The simple strum of the acoustic guitar will betray your ears as Enders' is basically yelling the entire song, lamenting the computerization of music around him and hoping to maintain his authenticity.

But don't think for one second that The Early November has forgotten how to just rock out. “Tell Me Why” unleashes the band's biggest chorus to date, as Jeff Kummer absolutely kills it behind the kit while lead guitarist Bill Lugg weaves in and out throughout the song. “Wearing The Tie” has that classic TEN feel to it, while “Like A Kid” - with its “ooo-oh-ooo's” and shimmering guitar riff - sounds like it could have track seven on Pinkerton.

However, it's the final few tracks of In Currents that embody everything we first fell in love with – the Early November's knack for creating songs that emotionally wear you out – for good or bad. “The Smell Of This Place” is a folksy, gentle number detailing a very personal, difficult decision that has to be made (“I've got these gray lines defining my life/but it's all been worth it”), while closing track “Call Off The Wedding Bells” delivers the emotional gut-punch of In Currents. The whimsical, almost easy-going nature of the song is incredibly misleading, as Enders' belts out the album's most painful lyrics (“You said call off all of the wedding bells I need a little time./Once upon a time/we were meant to be”). The call and return vocals of that final line between Enders and his wife, Jennifer, while guitar chords and cymbals burst and bloom into each other is incredibly chilling. It's a song that's hard to shake as it's an album closer that will continue to resonate long after you've heard it.

So yeah, I guess everything happens for a reason. No matter how painful it was, The Early November needed to break up; each member needed to find their own purpose outside the band. Because of everything they went through – the Drive-Thru delays, the disappointing reaction to the triple-disc album, the deteriorating friendships – the band was able to create and release the best album of its career. The jury is still out on whether or not The Early November will record another album, and I'd rather enjoy this record than speculate on what the future holds for these Jersey boys. But if this is it, then In Currents is a hell of a way to go out.

8/10
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 85
12:46 AM on 07/09/12
#2
Steeeve Perry
Pushin' th' little daisies
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This sounds great, can't wait to listen -- especially after this review. Nice job.
12:53 AM on 07/09/12
#3
cut!print
Keep me simple, unplug my head.
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Great review man, I've been waiting for one. I really wasn't the biggest fan of them before. I mean, I was, but they never actually made a release where I just loved every song that was on it. I always skipped certain tracks and stuck with the somber acoustics. I don't know, for me, it seems like I can always tell I like a band more than others if I enjoy the full band over the acoustics, and they weren't one of them.
However, this album I enjoy from beginning to end without a single halt or thought that I should skip a track, it flows perfectly! Glad they came back and made me finally understand why people love The Early November so much.
12:53 AM on 07/09/12
#4
guitarguy211
The Starship Renegade
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Looking forward to hearing this. Good review.
01:02 AM on 07/09/12
#5
Mattylikesfilms
If You Dig Up The Dead...
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I don't really think their triple disc disappointed. If memory serves me right, it ended up being the bands highest selling record.
01:27 AM on 07/09/12
#6
introduction
You're not real musician!
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Ace is the man. The. Man.
01:29 AM on 07/09/12
#7
wang_chung_li
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Been listening to this album non-stop since I got the pre-order in the mail a week ago. It honestly is their best record to date.
04:40 AM on 07/09/12
#8
jordalsh
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nice review!

of course I have nothing but wonderful things to say about this record. It still blows me away with every single listen.
04:43 AM on 07/09/12
#9
Mr_V1tr1oL
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did Jeff sing in the album?
04:50 AM on 07/09/12
DylanPPPP
Don't ya like clowns?!
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Love this record. Not as much as Room's Too Cold because that's one of my favorite records ever but I agree pretty much with this whole review.
05:11 AM on 07/09/12
cates
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did Jeff sing in the album?
I really hope so.
05:30 AM on 07/09/12
tommyhaych
Mayor West
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Luckily for us englishmen, In Currents was released on Spotify today, so we get to hear it a day earlier I assume. On first listen, I quite like it, although there seems to be one thing missing from previous TEN albums which made me love them so - Variety. There doesn't seem to be enough of it. There seems to be less to hook me.

You know, the small orchestral piece at the end of The Course of Human Life, or the little country guitar riffs behind No Good at Saying Sorry. I dunno, I have a feeling I'll be proving myself utterly wrong in the next week or so. I'm not going to pan it off on first list.
05:38 AM on 07/09/12
jordalsh
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Luckily for us englishmen, In Currents was released on Spotify today, so we get to hear it a day earlier I assume. On first listen, I quite like it, although there seems to be one thing missing from previous TEN albums which made me love them so - Variety. There doesn't seem to be enough of it. There seems to be less to hook me.

You know, the small orchestral piece at the end of The Course of Human Life, or the little country guitar riffs behind No Good at Saying Sorry. I dunno, I have a feeling I'll be proving myself utterly wrong in the next week or so. I'm not going to pan it off on first list.
the first song has a xylophone solo lol.
05:39 AM on 07/09/12
Portugal4142
@BrandonMir
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Excellent album.
07:29 AM on 07/09/12
t00latef0rr0ses
Purple Monkey Dishwasher
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pretty good album. enjoyed listening to it.

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