Ace Enders and a Million Different People – When I Hit The Ground
Record Label: Drive Thru Records
Release Date: March 17 2009
In July of 2012, pop-punk/indie band The Early November released a new record entitled In Currents after being on hiatus for the last few years. It was my first real introduction to frontman Ace Enders and his very impressive and long career. I also managed to pick up his first record as I Can Make a Mess as Nobody’s Business (now shortened to I Can Make a Mess), which was a self-titled record. I haven’t listened to that record much, and I plan on listening to it more soon, but even so, I was always interested in his solo work. He did release a new record as I Can Make a Mess earlier this year, entitled Enola, which I enjoyed a lot. Things have been rather calm in the Ace Enders camp as of the last month or so, but a friend of mine decided to send me a copy of one of Enders’ other solo records, When I Hit the Ground, under the moniker Ace Enders and a Million Different People. Aside from the obvious exaggeration of how many people helped him on this record, it’s mainly a genuine solo record from Enders, with his name truly attached to it. That’s what makes me appreciate this record a bit more, because while it doesn’t matter, the fact that he does use his name for the project is nice. That doesn’t have an affect on the music, however. Even then, I’ll admit this record is pretty damn impressive. It shows Enders at his very best, or at least, the best parts of his sound are there. His voice is absolutely fantastic, his lyrics are top notch and really hit home in certain places, and the overall instrumentation is nice. Speaking of which, the overall instrumentation is a very interesting part of the record. It’s a rather straightforward record, which is kind of odd for Enders, but not totally. It’s not totally straightforward, but for the most part, it is. The best way to describe it is that it does kind of follow a formula, but it does know what to change and what to keep constant, so that way, people still enjoy it, and can find something to enjoy about every song. No two songs sound the same, even if they have a similar sound. Because it is a rather straightforward, there isn’t too much that I really have to say. It’s an enjoyable record, and there are a few twists and turns throughout the record. Although, most of it does have a similar sound throughout. The one thing I will say before I really dive into this review is that the record runs about 51 minutes, and ultimately, I don’t really care for long records, especially this long, unless they’re really interesting and engaging. Well, this one is for the most part, but not really enough to really capture my attention for that long. It’s a straightforward indie-rock/acoustic record, so it would take a lot for that sound to remain interesting for awhile. It does, for the most part, but as a whole, it’s a lengthy record. Despite that, and how straightforward it is, there are a lot of good moments in it, so let’s take a look at those, shall we?
The record starts off with a two-and-a-half minute song called “Reintroduction,” which is kinda clever, because it’s not really an introduction if you already know who he is, which he’s betting most people listening to the record do. It’s a rather slow track, in the beginning, but it’s a great opening track, nonetheless. For whatever reason, I really enjoy Enders’ vocals on this record. He successfully manages to convey every emotion in his lyrics, which is a really great thing. In all honesty, it wouldn’t be too difficult for me to say that the first third of this record is absolutely wonderful. This seems to happen with some records, where the first fraction of a record is really great, then it slightly dips downhill. I’m not saying that happens too much here, but to a small degree. I will say that I really wish third track “New Guitar” was a lot longer. It’s a very nice acoustic track that leads right into “The Only Thing I Have (The Sign).” This is one of my favorite tracks from the record, actually. It’s one of the songs that really shows off the entire sound of the record, but without giving too much away. I mean, it’s not what every song sounds like, but if you want to listen to a song from the record before listening to the whole thing, that’s the song to go with. The title track is also the same kind of track as well. It’s another one of my favorites, and certainly a highlight.
Remember when I said the first third of it is absolutely fantastic? Well, it slips a bit after the title track. Seventh track “Sweeter Light” is an interesting song, because it has a rather country-sounding vibe to it, and I do appreciate the variety, but it does sound slightly out of place. It’s not weird, but it’s the only track of its kind, aside from tenth track “Where Do We Go from Here,” which is a track that does have slight country tinge, but it’s one of the tracks that doesn’t do much for me. The record does return to form slightly in the one-two punch of eighth and ninth tracks “SOS” and “Over This.” These two songs are of the catchier variety, and they really work. The real highlight of the record for me comes in the form of eleventh track “Emergency.” I don’t really know what it is about this track, but I absolutely love it. It’s a slower track, which is one of the only slower tracks on the record. This song shows Enders’ vocals at his absolute best, for the record. His vocals stand out so much, and are so great on this song, it’s fantastic. The rest of the song is great, too, though. Unfortunately, the last few tracks of the record at this point really don’t do anything for me. I mean, they’re not bad songs, but at this point, the record does become slightly tiresome. The songs are nice, but 51 minutes is a bit too much, as I mentioned earlier. Some of my favorite records are actually quite long, but those records keep my interest for different reasons. Regardless of that, this is a very solid record. I’m not necessarily in love with this record, but it’s an Ace Enders record, and he’s not the kind of musician who doesn’t put his all into something. If you’re a fan of Ace Enders, or just really awesome indie-rock, pick this up immediately. Why are you even reading this still? Go listen to it, because it’s definitely worth your time.
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