I Can Make A Mess - Enola
Record Label: Rise Records
Release Date: June 11, 2013
Over the last decade, we've watched this scene move from the early 2000's bands we hold dear slip by as new music and their respective movements take over, just as any other generation has witnessed. While most of those bands are reuniting to make 10th anniversary tours clinging to the glory they had, or are stuck in our cd rotation during road trips that make us feel nostalgic, one person has continually worked to put out material time and time again that hasn't disappointed. That man is Ace Enders.
As if The Early November (TEN) reuniting and putting out the solid release In Currents in 2011 wasn't enough, Ace has returned to give us Enola, the free flowing and mature release under the decade old name of I Can Make A Mess. While the name has been cut (no longer including 'Like Nobody's Business'), the effort remains stellar. The opening track of the same title, "Enola", immediately brings back thoughts of the Shins and Iron & Wine, with it's folk sound and upbeat flow complimented with echoing soft lyrics. This track sets the tone for the album as a great opener, combining what we've heard in The World We Know, Gold Rush, and wailing background guitars of TEN.
The flow continues as we hit the electronic girth of the album (tracks 3-6). "Adaptation Cell" is the first standout track on Enola, dropping a summer beat as good as any to chill out with friends on a hot evening night. "Listen Lesson/Keep Away" is the frist track to showcase both a bass line with the electronic feel, and give a little taste to Ace's vocal range. If you've drifted into a relaxed state with the soothing lyrics and casual sound earlier in the record, "Listen Lesson/Keep Away" can ignite a spark to turn the volume a little higher. While "Tidal Wave" may be a weaker track on the album, it gives a solid ending to a section of the album that reiterates the direction Ace has moved in.
Lions is the pinnacle of what Ace Ender's had come to be as a musician. Drawing us in with silky picking of acoustic notes as the track builds into a waterfall of crashing symbols, a vocal range unmatched by others in the scene, and lyrics that articulate personal desire "I would rule like a lion/ just go off like a cannon/but I'll run like a coward", "]Lions" makes you can't wait until the second chorus comes belting back soaked in guitar delay and excellent production of acoustic strumming and marching drums.
We're brought back down to earth with "Ancient Crows", another electronic backed song with anthemic style vocals and again, a great beat. The album begins to conjure up an image of the Shins, Jack Johnson, Bright Eyes' Digital Ash, sprinkled with love from Ace. While the album beings to drag a bit through this trio of songs, the album ends up right back where it started with "Thin White Line". Struck in the same Key as "Enola", it gives a feeling of closure and comfort that Ace's songs seem to induce. As the track fades into more guitar delay, echoing lyrics of helping us sleep at night, we're reminded why we come back to Ace in any form (TEN, Ace Enders & A Million Different People, I Can Make A Mess). Each track seems familiar and progressive at the same time, and the immediate recognition of a solid record will keep us coming back, and hoping for more out of Ace, through any outlet.
Which musicians should we support financially in the ever flowing river of music in this digital age? Why do we 20 something's keep holding onto the sounds we heard during the 2000-2005 era of this scene? Ace reminds us that those musicians didn't quit when Drive-Thru folded up shop and find a 9-5. I Can Make A Mess is the name given to what one of our, dare I say close friends, and what he loves to do...write great music. We've brought that familiar acoustic and comforting sound into our homes and cars for over a decade now, and there's no reason Enola should stop that now.