Music in 2006 was nothing like it is today. Blink-182 was seemingly irreconcilably broken up, X-tina had reverted to Christina, and not a single prepubescent girl knew what it meant to ardently proclaim oneself a “Belieber.” Alternative charts were ruled by scene bands with sentences for names and American Idol was not yet obsolete, in fact enjoying its highest-rated season ever. Considering the current state of music-related affairs, it’s safe to say that a lot sure can change in six years. Unless, of course, you are The Early November.
After a hiatus that lasted, you guessed it, six years, the New Jersey quintet is back with a third album, In Currents. If nothing else, the offering can safely claim to be everything a teenager in the early-two-thousands could have ever wanted. Self-indulgent, self-deprecating lyrics are put to melody via lead singer Arthur Enders’ raw, high-pitched whine and thrown up against energetically-charged instrumentals with the occasional acoustic curveball. The usual metaphors — like those about being underwater (“In Currents”), being the wind (“Tell Me Why”), and being little (“Like A Kid”) — are employed to articulate various themes of loneliness, being lost, giving up and fading away. Described by the band as an exploration into the feeling of being pulled in different directions, In Currents is practically tailor-made for every misunderstood 13-year-old scenester the music scene in 2006 thrived on.
And while it’s true that certain things get better with age, the unfortunate truth is that this album only succeeds in making it apparent that one would be hard-pressed to include the emo-scene genre in that lucky bunch. Because no matter how well-intentioned or earnest this record may actually be, the fact remains that the genre to which it subscribes — with the musical and lyrical styles it purports — is just as tired, cheesy and liable to be trivialized as the snarky preteen its meant to appease. It doesn’t help that The Early November are hardly distinguishable from their counterparts — they lack characteristics such as Metro Station’s blatant horniness, Escape The Fate’s alarming anger or a Pete-Wentz-esque star member to make them memorable. And so, they are instead left the company of fellow emo bands such as Hawthorne Heights or Boys Like Girls — a dime a dozen, and well past their prime.
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