New Jersey’s The Early November have been at it for the best part of two decades. Their formulae for emo, pop, and punk with a pinch of post-hardcore have pushed the band’s flair for lyrical relatability and must hear musicality forwards.
Pushing pop melodies to the forefront, all whilst retaining The Early November‘s transparent sensitivity, is something the quintet have been ever embracing of even on fifth studio album, ‘Lilac’.
The pop heavy ‘Ave Maria’ and the more melodic ‘My Weakness’ both pave the way for the pop sounds that the album incorporates, yet they manage to dodge falling into the same suit as monotonous popular music. Their infectious catchiness, generic beats and memorable melodies come together the create the perfect formulae for some radio friendly hits.
‘Ave Marie’, more so than ‘My Weakness’, takes influence from the group’s alternative background, in turn, striking an equal blend between rock and pop, just enough to create a song that has the potential to appeal to the mainstream yet keep their long-time fans satisfied.
Bringing it back to their roots, heavier cut ‘Hit By A Car (In Euphoria)’ is a hard-hitting punk driven track. Arthur “Ace” Enders‘ vocals have two personalities; one focused and able to capture the attention of the album’s audience, and the other harmonic and packing some power on the same par as the edgier musicality of bandmates “Ultra” Bill Lugg, Joseph Marro, Sergio Anello, and Jeff Kummer, something that has resurfaced from the band’s early efforts.
‘You Own My Mind’ is a passionate outcry of heartbreak and despair, and though its repetitiveness can be grating at times, the track’s believable emotion only intensifies more and more. ‘Our Choice’ hosts hair-raising vocals courtesy of Enders, which, once again, demonstrate the dexterity of the singer’s range, openly contemplating about the choices we all take in life; from the good to the bad, and the wrong to the right.
Closer ‘The Lilac’ takes a deeper and darker tone to its lyrical content, something that The Early November are all embracing of on this record. A straight-forward ballad that speaks about the suffering endured during an addiction, despite its lighthearted track title, its heavy hearted lyricism poses as a stark contrast, as the chorus candidly suggests “The needle in my hand is coming down / Drilling through my chest, but it’s oil they found / Washing over me, then drying out / Hoping for a heart, but it’s coal that they found.”
‘Lilac’ is both personal and emotional in its approach, and signifies the biggest sonic step in the band’s back-catalogue to date.