I Can Make A Mess

Growing In

Written by: TL on 04/12/2014 17:48:58

With the recent release of his "Growing In", time has come to once again re-introduce once-Early November frontman Ace Enders as a dude who is nothing if not productive, as evidenced by the countless releases you can find attributed to his name if you look him up on Wikipedia. Recent years have seen him making relaxed guitar pop on 2011's "Gold Rush" and experimenting somewhat aimlessly with lo-fi electronics on "Enola", and on "Growing In" you quickly get the feeling that Enders must've rediscovered his Weezer records and gotten inspired, especially in songs like opener "Caterpillar", a cutesy pop rocker with Microsoft Sam reading aloud from the insect's encyclopedia entry in the bridge, and "I'm The Man (Sarcasm)", which we'll get back to in a bit.

First, let's do the headlines, which are fuzzy, distorted guitar and Enders' vocals sounding like a cross between Weezer's Rivers Cuomo and Relient K's Matt Thiessen. These are employed in songs that are invariably poppy and predictable, and invariably belong in the more nostalgic and traditional branch of American indie rock. The mood is relaxed, but not to the point where Enders doesn't raise his voice every now and then, and you get the impression of a man that's learnt to deal with his concerns in less of a life-or-death manner than he would in his teens, yet isn't too old to kick up a bit of a ruckus.

Highlights start coming at track two, where "Get Normal" has some lively tempo changes and a chorus that sounds surprisingly sentimental and anthemic, and later the aforementioned "I'm The Man (Sarcasm)" glorifies trivialities in ironic, yet catchy fashion, flashing the kind of falsetto-happy chorus harmonies that will probably always sound a bit dodgy live. "Deciduous" also breaks down with some reflections about life as a thirty-something musician, before "I Love My Wife", which has it's title belted like one of the newer Mae songs after Enders has explained how models on magazine covers do nothing for him because he's well taken care of at home.

As you can gather this far, the songs on "Growing In" are void of rockstardom and rich on relateable ordinary-ness, which is what goes the longest way towards facilitating their catchiness at its best. On the flipside however, the album is hardly very dramatic or thought-provoking, and while Enders proves too experienced to not write songs that function at a solid level of poppiness, there's not much of an edge here. As sympathetic as it is to hear a guy sing about embracing his married life and the drawbacks of being a songwriter in the alternative scene, it gets a bit unspectacular as well, which figures to shorten the longevity of the songs considerably. If you've already chewed up this year's records from Weezer and Weatherbox however, or if your were just an Enders fan in the first place, then do consider "Growing In" for a whirl, as it does offer at least a few songs that anyone should find pretty fun.

Download: Get Normal, I'm The Man (Sarcasm), Deciduous, I Love My Wife
For The Fans Of: Weezer, Kevin Devine, Relient K, Saves The Day, Mae
Listen: facebook.com/icanmakeamessofficial

Release date 09.10.2014

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