I Can Make A Mess – “Growing In” Review

Posted: by Colin

Stream Growing In on the I Can Make A Mess Bandcamp while you read!

Stream Growing In on the I Can Make A Mess Bandcamp while you read!

In one of the teaser videos leading up to the surprise release of the new I Can Make A Mess album, Growing In, Ace Enders’ claims that he wants to be “the Justin Timberlake of this generation”. Funny enough, considering he pulled a move more along the lines of Beyoncé, who shocked music fans everywhere, when she surprisingly released her fifth studio album on iTunes late last year. Without any marketing or press, it still ended up being her most successful release to date.

Regardless, many fans within the alternative music scene appreciate and respect how ambitious of a musician Ace Enders has been for the greater portion of the past decade. Whether that be an idea to do an album that chronicled the life of a young boy, which ultimately culminated in a forty-plus song triple disc album (The Early November The Mother, The Mechanic, & The Path) or more recently, the fourth I Can Make A Mess album, Enola, a soft, synth driven, pop album unlike anything he had ever done before. The bottom line is that as an Ace Enders fan, you should expect the unexpected.

With this being said, the surprise album Growing In gets back to and builds off of what Ace Enders knows best, crafting honest and raw songs, while also adding a more personal, straightforward approach. This sort of harkening back to roots, and expanding upon them pays off exponentially, as Growing In is arguably the most sensibly cohesive, full, and consistent Mess album to date.

Growing In is an undoubtedly equal, and well-balanced eleven song record. There are as many loud, gripping, attention grabbing yells, as there are soft, harmonizing vocal melodies. There are a handful of blazing choruses filled with hooks that scream “get stuck in my head” but there are also a plethora of well calculated, gentle strums that you could easily be lulled to sleep by. There are as many clever, unconventional one-liners (I hope one day my kids think I’m cool, didn’t sell the farm to be the mule), as there are well calculated, thoughtful, structured verses (Always growing in to what you’ll grow out of).

“Caterpillar”, “Keep Moving”, and “Chartreuse” are the best examples of the balanced song writing on Growing In. The opening song “Caterpillar’ is a churning, bubbly song featuring imbedded definitional lines reminiscent of the ‘background noise’ on the Self-Titled and The World We Know. ‘Keep Moving” is the strongest song on the album both lyrically and musically. It is an emotionally charged song about perseverance that transitions from a relaxing to frantic state free flowingly over the line “We’re always siphoning air to my lungs to keep the beat going, to get what we want, siphoning blood to my heart to keep moving”. Finally, “Chartreuse” is a vocally driven and focused song with repetitious guitar and drum work.

Furthermore, in typical Ace fashion, the album also features a blunt, heart wrenching, stripped down acoustic song that could easily fit on any previous Mess album. “Back Whoas of Lavish Glass” is an organic and uncut song, just put your headphones on and it feels as if it is being performed right in front of you, one of the reasons why I enjoy it so much. The song hinges upon the familiar theme that Ace often references, growing old.

With each release, the discography of Ace Enders becomes a bit more expansive, and eccentric. Growing In further adds to this sentiment. It is a fun, proactive, and positive album. Growing In does well to highlight the strengths of Ace as both a singer and songwriter. It is an album with structure and form, but the songs are just as personable and relatable as ever before. I thought this may have been the first year since 2007 without new music from any Ace project, but I am so glad I was wrong. I’ll be as forthcoming and candid as the record itself is; Growing In is one damn good album.

– Colin