Prior to their 2007 hiatus, The Early November were kings of their genre, leading the way with their influence and charm. Their capabilities outnumbered most of their competitors, and with their absence, emptiness ensued. Accordingly, the reunion announcement in late 2011, with the added bonus of a new album, was met with utter acceptance and bliss. In Currents, their first studio album in four years, promised to be exciting.
The one thing I find really enthralling about this record is the overall sound. Of course, with the elapsed time and growth from each member, a developed sound is expected, but the change still took me by surprise. Track one, “A Stain on the Carpet,” allows for the first example of this extraordinary change. There’s a simple chord progression, which eventually gives way to melancholy lyrics, but gains complexity through alternations. The track gains momentum as the song’s story increases, giving emphasis on pivotal areas. It is tragically beautiful, with lines like, “I spilled red wine on your carpet/letting it sink in deep for days/and if you ever fall in to dementia/it won’t let you forget.”
Another good thing about this album is its attention to the different ways to reach people, and the impact resourceful songs can have. The band utilizes a more serene approach, but cranks everyone’s emotions up a notch. “That’s Not Your Real Name” examines repetition and hopelessness with lines like, “slow down/fade out/it’s almost a pattern for me/laid down mistakes out/they’re all just like motions to me,” while “Smell of This Place” describes loss and repair through careful words such as “The smell of this place without/the thought of your voice not here/the look in my eyes as I’m telling myself/that’s its all been worth it” and “nothing but great lines define my life/I’ve got these great lines defining my life.”
However, TEN also employed classic tricks to make this worthy album. Their musical abilities have been perfected, and this album also includes the usual angst and melody ranges. The title track “In Currents” has an easy start but demands your attention as the chorus brings with it a greater melody. “Like a Kid” starts off heavy and continues to evolve. Even “Frayed In Doubt” establishes a strong message with its developed melody.
It’s worth mentioning that they have also gotten more creative, and “Digital Age” just might be the cleverest thing I’ve heard in a while. The expression of disapproval for the ways of common society is present and strong, providing criticism worth listening to.
All in all, this album is just an example of this band’s potential and is a great return record. They haven’t lost a single ounce of their ability or influence, as this album is sure to bring around old fans and make new ones in the process. Their personal stamp and ability to drawl out emotions will always in demand. They came out swinging and, with In Currents as their weapon, are once again kings.