Tuesday, September 05, 2006

the early november's 3 disc monster

The Early November
"The Mother, The Mechanic, and The Path"
(Drive Thru)

I used to really hate The Early November. Maybe it's because when I heard their debut EP in 2002, "For All of This," I couldn't help but think that it was too early for someone to start ripping off Jimmy Eat World's "Bleed American." Or perhaps it's because they were given an opportunity (as well as some natural talent) to record something of substance and pissed it away by being Drive Thru's "It" band for a couple years. Then lead Novemberteer, Ace Enders released a solo album under the name I Can Make a Mess Like Nobody's Business and my respect for the man as a songwriter was in place. That record was clearly an amalgam of midwest rock influences -- Saddle Creek, Kansas, et. al. It's pretty much like the 90's indie rock scene shit on that disc...in a good way, of course.

So I was somewhat interested in hearing The Early November's latest record and upon reading that it would be a triple disc threat, I became even more intrigued. And that's where my fascination with the record ends.

To get it out of the way: buy this used and throw away the last disc. The album's third disc is so full of pretentious concept crap, it's hardly listenable. Plus, there's this deep voiced narrator that sounds a lot like the intro to Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock's "It Takes Two."

It's tragically ironic that the reason I hated the Early November to begin with was that they took the easy way out by writing simple pop-punk jangles; now, I'm accusing them of trying to be too interesting. But hey, what can I say? Sometimes you have to call people on their bullshit.

The first two discs of "The Mother..." are really good. For an initial listen, I gravitated toward the second disc, but I reall think that the first disc has it's moments, especially for the two closing songs "The Car in 20" and "Figure It Out."

I think that The Early November would've been far more successful if they released the two discs separately. There are some good ideas that are never really chisled out for the sake of having an epic concept album.

For the most part (third disc notwithstanding), it seems that The Early November has shaken their freshman mistakes pretty well and are into moving forward by being one of pop-punk's memorable songwriters; now if someone can throw a little consistency their way, I think we can expect the best from this New Jersey band.


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