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Mother the Mechanic & The Path Box set, Import
|価格:||￥ 2,304 通常配送無料 詳細|
This overly ambitious three-CD set begins strongly enough with "The Mechanic," an intense, rock-driven song cycle that affirms this quintet's status as a bright and shining hope for American pop music. There are hits ("The Rest Of My Life," "Decoration"), a moody, country-inflected experiment ("No Good At Saying Sorry (One More Chance)") and a pause for some fist-thumping arena rock ("The One That You Hated"). It's only in the disc's final moments, on the track "Figure It Out," that the excitement begins to flicker but even then the New Jersey-based band manages to stand stronger than most. Left on its own, "The Mechanic" could easily be one of the best emo records to emerge this year.
Instead, the band continue with a second act, "The Mother," which shows a great deal of promise at the start. Tracks such as the whimsical, Beatles-influenced "Hair," the Ben Folds nod "Driving South," and even the out-and-out emo anthem "A Little More Time" highlight the group's greatest asset: the ability to craft a swelling chorus that's rife with rich harmonies and jangly, energetic guitar hooks. But as quick as this act begins, it begins to fall apart as the songs growing increasingly weak, starting with "From Here to L.A." and concluding with "1000 Times a Day," an especially unconvincing tune that comes to an embarrassingly amateurish end, riddled with weak rhyme and burdened by tween sentimentality. Others, such as the ballad-y "Is It My Fault" and "I Don't Know How To Say This," an obvious Smashing Pumpkins homage, show potential but feel hastily assembled and strained, the group nearing creative bankruptcy in those final moments.
The finishing touch and the worst part of the whole collection, though, is the wholly unnecessary third act, a "soundtrack" to a cliché-filled sonic film about an unwanted child, his bruised psyche, angst-filled parents, and some other stuff that proves as interesting and original as the average slice of unbuttered toast. A note on the CD's sleeve implores us to listen to "The Path" with headphones, but the fact is that it's best to let the band limp away with its dignity intact and not listen at all. The Mother, The Mechanic, and The Path is a tragically flawed album that could have stood as a true classic had its creators known when to leave well enough alone. --Jedd Beaudoin
I remember really liking I Can Make A Mess Like Nobody's Business, the side project from TEN's front man. The funny thing about the emo movement was that it seemed like a lot of the bands associated with it were desperate to get out. Maybe they realized that it was short-lived, or maybe they just didn't like the negative connotations of the genre term. Whatever it was, we saw talented bands like the Juliana Theory, Jimmy Eat World, The Early November, and many others attempt to branch out into more "mature" sounds. Dustin Kensrue from Thrice even released a country/folk album.
Unfortunately for TEN, they reached well beyond their capabilities for "The Mother, The Mechanic, and the Path." Part of the trouble with trying to cross into different genres is that you really need to spend time studying and absorbing that genre. To me, the "folk" songs, the country rockers, the indie flourishes, and yes, even the attempts at Beatles-style pop fall flat on this record because it doesn't feel like TEN knows what they're doing. It's like adding a steel guitar to an emo song and calling it country. It's not. It's still an emo song.
Worse than that, it seems like most of the songs on here were hastily written. The melodies are severely underdeveloped, and the few songs that do attempt melodic hooks barely rise above generic emo anthems of the sort that everyone was doing at the time. There's a reason most bands don't release triple albums, and that's because it takes time and focus to really write a memorable song.
The lyrics are all over the place, but really nothing that memorable or good. They lean mostly towards clumsy and overdone metaphors. See "Little Black Heart", where the first verse talks about how he sent his heart "packing" but now he has a hole in his chest and it hurts. The second verse ramps it up even more, as his head hurts, he chokes when he sings, his knees shake, and his chest still hurts, and his stomach also aches, but "as long as (he's) in love, it's so hard to leave." In the chorus, he reaches for some sort of poignancy, but it comes across as childish when he sings, "I know it sounds selfish/I think I'll have some ice cream/We live and we die for this."
For another example, listen to the very next song, "Hair". A lot of people like this song, and it's certainly one of the few truly catchy tracks on the album. But once again Ace reaches for profound meaning and comes up short with his awkward phrasing and lack of clarity. While the "Hello, how are you?" refrain is a bit kitschy, it's later in the song when he fails with this verse: "Wait for me, I've got to see/The looks that you will get/When you turn down the key/to the town and your social being."
Ace probably sums it up best on the song "I Don't Know How To Say This." He sings, "God only knows what I would say to you/I've waited so long, I'm feeling numb to this lonely tune." He certainly stumbles over his words on this album, and it seems like both he and the rest of the band became numb during the long recording period it took.
There are two things I learned in my first college writing class. The first is a quote from William Faulkner: "Kill your darlings." Sometimes we fall too much in love with what we're doing and can't see its shortcomings. The second is that if you're struggling with something, the best thing to do is move on before you lose interest. It seems to me that the Early November would have been wise to heed both of these warnings, as the band sounds disinterested and the front man seems to have believed in himself a little too much.
I realize this review might be a little general considering there were 3 CD's and 46 songs on the album, but honestly, most of it left little to no impression on me. The middle disc (The Mother) is definitely the catchiest and most listenable of the three, but even it has some severe flaws.
Ace wanted to do a triple-release as a concept album. Each CD has a theme involving a family and their twists through life in a way. "The Mechanic," of course, is meant to represent the father figure. Therefore it is the hardest of all the CDs. The band also used a lot of industrial sounds to make it sound like a factory and give it a more gritty feel. The first song, "Money in His Hand," is one of my favorites and it kind of describes the feelings of that dad. "It's not the heart that makes a man, it's the money in his hand." He was under a lot of stress to provide for the family and in the end it's this stress that contributed to them letting extended family take care of the boy. "Decoration" is a popular single where you can really hear the factory sounds I was just talking about. Ace's voice is really gritty in this song too; his screams are awesome-sounding! Another one of my favorites is "Long Talks", a little bit more mellow but I really like the message and the instrumental sound of it. The drums are amazing on this song!
Next up, "The Mother." Obviously this CD is about the maternal figure, and as such has a softer, more gentle sound. It doesn't mean they completely remove distorted electrical guitar sound, it's just used sparingly and there are more piano, acoustic, etc... tracks. I really like this CD too! The opener, "My Lack of Skill," has an old piano at the bar sound to me. It really grabs your attention and suggests that the mom feels like she has a lot of potential, but feels obligated to stay at home and try to take care of the baby while daddy works at the factory. You can sense her frustration throughout the record. "Hair" for instance is really catchy, but once you think about the meaning and the context of the rest of the album it changes your perspective. The Mother is sick of fake relationships and having to be someone she's not, and it's basically because there's a kid in the picture now. The last two songs on the CD are acoustic, and incredibly well-written! They are also sad, so prepare yourself. "1000 Times a Day" is another one of my favorite songs, even with how simple it is. It seems to me like a recollection of the mother and father's history, suggesting they've known each other since high school and the lyrics have parts we can all relate to in some form or another.
"The Path" is about the boy and his journey through life without a normal upbringing. In it, he has a conversation with someone who sounds like Satan in my opinion but obviously isn't. I'm not actually sure if it says anywhere who the other side of the conversation is with, but nevertheless it doesn't really matter since it's the boy we care about anyway. This CD is VERY different from what we're used to in the world today. It's not really made to listen to a single or download a song on iTunes. You need to listen to this CD all the way through, start to finish, in order to appreciate it. My favorite thing about this CD is how the songs are written and sound like they are from the child's point of view. There are big band sounds, circus-y sounds, etc... which literally make me burst out laughing whenever I hear them. It's just so awesome that they are recorded that way. The themes of the other two albums are revisited here, and that's why some of the songs have the same titles. "Decoration" for instance is really mellow and breathy, nothing like the original except the lyrics are the same. "Never Coming Back" is a gem to be discovered here. The first time I listened to this song I got teary-eyed and played it over and over again. It reminds me of something that could be sung at a funeral when a life-long love dies. It is beautifully written and a real masterpiece. I won't write anymore about this one because it's good just to experience the rawness of the album on your own.
I hope this review helps. I really hate that Early November broke up, but I think this is their greatest album by far. It's undertaking, it's history, it's concepts, the music, and the feelings I get while listening make it one of my favorite albums of all time. I really don't know why it's so cheap on here, but it's a no-brainer to snag it at this price. I paid full price the day it came out and it was definitely worth more than that!
Other thoughts: There is no swearing on this CD, the recording quality is very good for a Drive-Thru release (not a lot of compression that I can hear).