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Album Review: The Early November – In Currents

Let’s forget for a minute that "In Currents" is The Early November’s comeback release, one that fans have eagerly – albeit cautiously – awaited after the band’s five year split. Looking at this album in isolation from TEN’s history and past releases, it’s a well puzzled-out product of their roots in emo balanced by a sophisticated exploration in studio musicianship.

But we can’t look at any album in total isolation. The truth of "In Currents" is that it’s about where The Early November have been, which has looked pretty dark at some points. Success rammed the heads of the young band especially after 2006’s triple disc release "The Mother, The Mechanic, And The Path", and they essentially fell apart during one last tour and agreed to focus on their separated jobs, families and lives.

The decision to reunite and release another album could have been a last-ditch effort to retain recognition. Instead, "In Currents" lets everyone into what it was like for things to fall apart as they did - to lose control and try to stay afloat while change happens without mercy.

The record begins with "A Stain on the Carpet,” an emotional “hello, long-time-no-see” with a sound bands often save for a record’s last track send-off but instead used to welcome everyone back to the music. From here on, "In Currents" flows in and out of crassness and fragility, between the harsher riffs of “Frayed in Doubt” and the hollow-hall acoustics of “Digital Age” and “That’s Not Your Real Name.”

Its title-track is one of the album’s peaks, where frustration and exhaustion meet the conflicting yet exhilarating feeling of just being over it all, willing to roll with the bad luck you have no power to avoid anyway. As TEN hash out this deluge, Ace Enders shows off his talent in the studio (the album was produced and engineered by Enders in his own studio The Living Room, one of his many side projects apart from the band) with elements like the static percussion in “Close to You,” a song that has absolutely no chance of escaping every fan’s car speakers this summer.

The record is filled with winks and nods at the band’s breakup with tracks like “Wearing a Tie,” but it’s all brought together with the devastating ender “Call Off the Bells,” where a dive bar solo electric guitar plays under Ace’s vocals, which haven’t aged a day but have inevitably been changed by recent happenings. There is no escaping it: this song is about a breakup – of an engagement, of a relationship, of a band – and the ohmygod How Did It Come To This? moments of realizing “You’ve grown from the fairy tale / and need a little more.”

"In Currents" sprang directly from what’s happened to the group since their last record. Life isn’t easy and, even worse, no one has control over it most of the time. Sometimes things just don’t work out. But you learn to accept it, you change what you can and you move on. And that’s what The Early November have done through this record.


"In Currents" is out July 10th through Rise Records.

Carolyn Vallejo

Alter The Press!