There are certain albums in people’s lives that they can go back and listen to and it just feels right. Maybe it takes that person back to a specific time in his or her life or maybe the music just hits the individual in such a wonderful way that those feelings resurface when listening years later. The kind of album that makes the listener solemnly think, “now this is why I love music.” The Early November‘s 2003 debut full-length is one of those albums for me.
Whether it be the upbeat catchiness of “Baby Blue,” the monster chorus of “The Mountain Range In My Living Room” or the nostalgic feeling deep in my tummy during “Ever So Sweet,” The Room’s Too Cold is a defining record of the Drive-Thru Records days which mean so much to so many people. As far as the band’s short catalog goes, this release is the band’s edgiest, best assembled record of the their discography and one listen through makes that point definitive.
The Early November’s pleasant blend of pop-punk and emo on The Room’s Too Cold is enough to bring any fan back to those days in the early 2000s when September never stayed that cold and Jim Adkins always believed in futures. It just had everything that defines that era in music. From straightforward pop-punk jams (“Something That Produces Results,” “Fluxy”) to slower, more twinkly emo-based tracks (“Dinner at the Money Table,” “My Sleep Pattern Changed”), the diversity on this record is what made it such a special listen and ultimately what makes it so special almost a decade later.
While Ace Enders’ trademark imperfect vocals drive the record, it is the masterful guitar work of Joseph Marro and Enders that gives the record its gusto. Enders’ voice is the most easily recognizable feature of this record (and arguably the band as a whole), but it is the superior instrumentation that Marro and Enders deliver on the guitar that brings out the flavor of The Early November’s overall sound. The subtle guitar riff backing Enders’ soft voice on “Everything’s Too Cold…But You’re So Hot” and the oh-so recognizable building intro of “Fluxy” are proof enough that the meat of this band lies in the hands of its two guitarists.
This of course isn’t to take away from Enders’ vocal ability. The Room’s Too Cold is Enders at his rawest and most vulnerable. All you have to do is take a listen as he belts “You know I always forget” to finish the record to convince you that Enders was passionate about everything he did with this band.
As The Early November looks to make a comeback with In Currents here in July, make sure you take the time to look back at how incredible this band’s past work is. Retrace their steps back to The Room’s Too Cold and just allow yourself to be reminded of how incredibly hard this band hit the scene nearly a decade ago.