The Early November

The Mother, The Mechanic, And The Path

Written by: PP on 15/09/2006 17:26:40

The Early November has accumulated somewhat of a cult status within the acoustic (also known as screamless) emo genre housing many worshipped bands like Dashboard Confessional and Something Corporate. After a few months time when people have eventually gotten used to "The Mother, The Mechanic, And The Path", the bands new overly ambitious triple album, the status is likely to strenghten, as that's exactly how long it takes to get used to 46 (!!) tracks of music the album. It has divided fans and critics alike with calls for it being one of the greatest concept albums of the 21st century, while others label it as rubbish and a creative mistake.

"The Mechanic", the first disc, is a straight forward rock album with electric guitars, harmonious and rich choruses and heart-touching lyrics. The pure honesty of "Money In His Hand" breaks my heart: "it's not the heart that makes a man, it's the money in his hand", with the vocal delivery playing a huge part in the effect. "Decoration" works as the one for the radios, with it's simple singalongable choruses and catchy riffs. The rest of "The Mother" dwells somewhere in between these two songs, and makes up for a great record, only if it would be standing by itself.

Half-way through the second, almost completely acoustic disc "The Mother", the album has already turned into a reviewers nightmare. To get acquainted with this many songs at once simply isn't possible, and the quantity also shows in lack of quality. While "The Mother" has some of the best acoustic material TEN has written to date (see "Is It My Fault", "I Don't Know How To Say This"), many of the songs are sub-par and signal that the creative stream the band had in the start of the writing-process dried out too soon. This is highlighted especially as we approach "The Path", the 24-track long third disc telling a story of an unwanted child and his problems with his parents, the necessity of all this is questionable.

Most of "The Path" goes on in spoken-word chats to shed light on the story of a child trying to understand why he is unwanted, an attempt to explore the deteriorated father-son relationship. This is an interesting concept, I give them that, but the delivery falls short. Lot of the discussions in "Session 01" - "Session 09" aren't really that interesting, and the occasional tracks like "This Is Love" are just far too quiet for my taste. That being said, the concept is explored well in-depth, and if you'd be willing to put the effort into studying it closer, I'm sure it works out perfectly. But when there are other great, more accessible concept albums out there like Boys Night Out's "Trainwreck", it's hard to find the motivation to study "The Path" closer, especially after already having plowed through 22 electric and acoustic tracks.

Despite this, there's plenty of material to enjoy even if you ignore the experimental disc. "The Mechanic", standing alone, is one of the best emo releases this year, and "The Mother" isn't all that bad either. In their place, I probably would've released "The Path" only as a special limited edition bonus to the hard-core fans and left it out of the official release, as it's all just too much. Otherwise, "The Mother, The Mechanic, And The Path" is a refreshing reminder of how emo CAN sound like in the midst of our Saosin's and The Used's.


Download: Money In His Hand, Is It My Fault?
For the fans of: Dashboard Confessional, Something Corporate
Listen: Purevolume

Release date 11.07.2006

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