The Early November
Imbue


4.0
excellent

Review

by Rowan5215 STAFF
May 19th, 2015 | 120 replies


Release Date: 05/12/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Re-write the wrongs.

In truth, The Early November's comeback had no right being as good as it was. These days, being a dedicated music listener comes with an in-built, pre-set cynicism which makes every reunion tour, comeback album and b-sides & rarities collection nothing more than a sordid dash for easy money. Of course, that's not to say that this isn't frequently a fair assumption, but it suits us as lovers of music to sometimes give bands the benefit of the doubt and believe the best of their intentions. This is especially true in the case of The Early November, when their comeback actually turned out better than their original run.

In Currents was one of those albums which is just perfect with or without context – building on the band's previous work to make something which stays true to their beginnings at the core, while constantly testing the boundaries and remaining passionate in execution. Imbue is an excellent continuation of that same ideal. But whereas In Currents could essentially be sliced in three to show the acoustic ballads, the poppy singles and the heavier tracks, Imbue attempts to merge the styles into one.

What this results in is an album which flows far better as one conceptual piece than any other TEN album except The Path, but with a deficiency of standouts on the level of the timeless "Ever So Sweet". It seems clear that Ace and co. have spent a lot of effort funneling their various influences into a seamless whole; songs are built on echo-laden, jangly guitar licks, paired with colossal choruses and overlaid with the cleverly self-aware lyrics that Enders excels at. That's not to say that it's the same the whole way through: there is a beautiful slow jam in "Harmony", which is saved from ballad territory by the energetic drumming of Jeff Kummer, and an adrenaline shot of what For All of This-era TEN would sound like in 2015 with "Nothing Lasts Forever".

Of all the benefits the updated songwriting method grants Imbue, perhaps the greatest is how it allows the vastly improved voice of Ace Enders to shine, and that's exactly what it does. Whether he's sticking to a delicate near-falsetto ("Harmony") or roaring his way to a near-scream on titanic choruses ("Narrow Mouth", "I Don't Care"), it's nigh impossible to believe this is the same kid who yelped his way into our eardrums with high-school soundtrack "Every Night's Another Story". Lyrically, he also continues the far-improved work from The Mother, The Mechanic and The Path onwards: whether reliving those same high school years with a more cynical hindsight on "Boxing Timelines" or reminiscing grimly about the place of passion in a digital age of music on the album closer. Pop-punk bands in our day have a habit of peaking quickly and then fading into obscurity, probably due to the angsty teenage energy that characterises the genre. Yet ever since the hugely ambitious The Mother, The Mechanic and the Path it's been blatantly obvious that The Early November are more than just your "All The Small Things" cover band, and somehow more than ten years on they remain as relevant as ever.



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user ratings (90)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
May 19th 2015


40752 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great album agreed

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
May 19th 2015


40752 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

fuck you I reserve my right to be lazy

thanks tho

dimsim3478
May 19th 2015


8015 Comments


yea how good is "digital age" holy SHIT

Digging: The Cro-Magnons - ?????????

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
May 19th 2015


40752 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The chorus of Narrow Mouth god fucking damn

zakalwe
May 19th 2015


25929 Comments


"These days, being a dedicated music listener comes with an in-built, pre-set cynicism"

He's getting more and more like his uncle zak everyday :D

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
May 19th 2015


40752 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I did say that as a bad thing but y'know

zakalwe
May 19th 2015


25929 Comments


Of course it's a bad thing dude. Innocence lost. The eyes dimmed by adult cynicism. Wonderment dulled by experience.
Welcome on the journey to being a miserable bastard. Take my hand.

dimsim3478
May 19th 2015


8015 Comments


The chorus of Narrow Mouth god fucking damn

quite a few god fuckin damn moments on this album

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
May 19th 2015


40752 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Or you could just make an effort to break away from it lad - start by giving something new a decent chance

Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
May 19th 2015


14075 Comments


Nice review man, posd

Digging: Skycamefalling - 10.21

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
May 19th 2015


40752 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

cheers MortimusPrime, give the album a spin

zakalwe
May 19th 2015


25929 Comments


I listen to new stuff all the time bro, it never fails to excite. I'm just bitter coz I don't get to 'feel' the excitement of being 17 again.

Rosebud.

dimsim3478
May 19th 2015


8015 Comments


yea man having high standards is okay as long as you like somethin

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
May 19th 2015


40752 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

At least zak can jam out to like one new album a year eh :]

Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
May 19th 2015


14075 Comments


"cheers MortimusPrime, give the album a spin"

I was hoping people had started to forget my old name lol. And yeah i think i like this, will have to give this a listen

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
May 19th 2015


40752 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

MortimusPrime ruled, I miss him

mazalthan
May 19th 2015


87 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

This album is great! I love this reincarnation of The Early November, they sound as passionate as ever. So many ear soothing moments on this album, such as the ending of "The Negatives". Dug this review as well, Pos'd.

Atari
Staff Reviewer
May 19th 2015


23864 Comments


review is fantastic rowan, not that i expected anything less from you : ]

i honestly agree with pretty much everything you said. I never really started to get into TEN until I heard In Currents (was never big on them before) but this album still blew my expectations out of the water. I plan to revisit their older albums too now, but i listened to a couple songs from the debut the other day and it really doesn't even sound like the same singer haha. just goes to show how much he's improved.

Digging: Pistol Annies - Interstate Gospel

NorwichScene
May 19th 2015


2699 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review. Ace has definitely changed his style from a whiny soft emo boy to a powerful yet soft man

Ecnalzen
May 19th 2015


7517 Comments


Hot diggity, a Rowan review!

I did not know this band was still around. Cool. They had a song I really liked off a Warped Tour CD back in the early 2000s.



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