Ace Enders is always on the forefront of imagination, not just stepping outside, but cutting the box to pieces. It seems like cookie cutter songs under standard development processes are just not his thing. This creative monster has been pushing the bar since his emergence on Drive-Thru Records in 2003. These types of creative decisions have come to be what fans except ever since his release of The Mother, The Mechanic, and The Path with The Early November. On October 9, 2014, Enders released an unexpected album entitled Growing In, under his solo project I Can Make A Mess Like Nobody’s Business. The album was majority free-styled in its composition stages during Ace’s free time between bouncing down tracks for another band’s album. Enders sang, and played the first things that came to mind for most of these songs onto his iPhone. He stuck to the original tempos, changes, and most of the original lyrics.
The new album has a more invigorating sound to it than what fans would expect, at least in a musical sense. Lyrically though, we come to find themes of darkness that have encompassed his words for the past eleven years. Themes of exhaustion, money, and love can be heard all throughout the record. Impressive as always, Enders actually performs every instrument on the album, not impressed yet? If that was not enough, he also self-produced and engineered this eclectic blend of promise, heartache, and trepidation. It is not unlike Enders to avoid one specific genre, as listeners cascade through the thought provoking melodies and rhythms, that notion becomes all too clear. He truly delivers something accessible to all listeners across generations.
Is this album Ace’s strongest to date? Probably not, but it does show signs of maturity and growth. However, it is missing some of the consistent characteristics that made the original three Early November albums, and even the first I Can Make A Mess record, so sultry and special. It shows more characteristics that are reminiscent of Ace Enders and A Million Different People, which was never as well received by long-time fans. This album is better than good on it’s own, but in comparison to earlier work, it does not quite meet the bar. This kind of thought process is hard to overlook in a world where it is more than common to agree with the term “their old stuff was better.”
On that note, it is still safe to say that after eleven years, Enders has no plans of being just another early 2000s emo trend with a shelf life. He has proven once again that he has the staying power of a true indie rock monarch. For old school fans longing for a glimpse of Ace’s early work comparable to For All of This, or The Room’s Too Cold, they are in for a few treats. Those diehards will really enjoy the tunes “Keep Moving,” “Back Whoas of Lavish Glass,” and “Chartreuese.” The rest of the album truly breathes a sort of freshness, that still rings a familiar influence of days gone by. From The Early November, to I Can Make A Mess Like Nobody’s Business, one thing is always constant, Ace Enders always delivers truth telling emotion that anyone can hold onto.