March 23, 2010 - Self- Released
Ace Enders has never really been the conventional type. Sure, the ex-Early November leader oversaw four TEN releases in only four years back in the early 2000s, but it's important to remember that 2006's The Mother, The Mechanic, And The Path was three discs' worth of content. Add that to the array of side projects (I Can Make A Mess Like Nobody's Business and Ace Enders And A Million Different People) and Enders has had a pretty productive decade.
The World We Know--Ender's first release under the I Can Make A Mess moniker since the group's 2004 eponymous debut and the first of three albums he hopes to release this year by the project--finds the singer again sidestepping convention in favor of innovation. While many groups strive to create seamless, flowing albums, Enders has taken that to a whole new level: The World We Know is actually a single track comprised of the album's 11 songs. This ambition is admirable, but the 40-minute running time and inability to skip songs makes for a tiring and often-frustrating listen. It also makes it difficult to repeat the album's high points: the folky "No Idea Where I'm Going" and the swooning "Old Man..........................." Elsewhere, "My Hands Hurt" conjures up Manchester Orchestra's more delicate moments, while "Stop Smoking Because It's Not Good For You" uses pitter-patter drums and a jangly chorus to harken back to Enders' Early November days.
Enders treads lightly, never straining his voice or allowing instruments to take the lead. Heck, most of The World We Know doesn't even feature drums. Much in the same way I Can Make Mess Like Nobody's Business' self-titled debut mostly strayed from the loud guitar rock of the Early November, The World We Know is more stripped-down, sparse and less hooky than Ender's full-band efforts with the Million Different People. Instead, the frontman has created an intimate environment here where his voice and strong songwriting stands front and center.