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The Room's Too Cold [Bonus DVD]

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Critics' Reviews

amg review
It's nice to know that Drive-Thru is diversifying its brand enough to grant the Early November's "Ace" Arthur Enders pacing and styling carte blanche. He seems to be the singular songwriting force behind Room's Too Cold, which begins with the acoustic surge of "Ever So Sweet." Enders' voice soars and cracks in all the right places, and strings -- not crashing power chords -- are the order of the day. "Can't you see this wall you built for me/We're not special/I'm not special/Ever so special that you baked it in cakes for me" -- it might sound whiny on paper, but shucks if Enders and the sweeping cellos don't make tears drip from your CD changer. It seems like another winner for the Cali-based Drive-Thru, which has found sustenance in a crop of young New Jersey bands raised on its tastemaking punk-pop sound (Senses Fail, Hidden in Plain View, etc.) Of course, Enders and his fresh-faced pals have a soft spot for amps, too, as "Something That Produces Results" suggests. But even here, the tingling energy of the song's tense chorus dissipates into atmospheric verses -- "Now I'm scared", Enders muses, before launching once more into the clamoring chorus. Because of the Early November's tendency to draw influence from recent time, there's a considerable debt owed to the literate earnestness of the Get Up Kids. This does posit portions of Room's Too Cold in a dull emo limbo. Even so, the album is never bad, just a bit same-y. (Its sickeningly tasteful, moody-by-numbers artwork doesn't help this fact.) Thankfully, the band and producer Chris Badami display an impressive understanding of dynamics throughout. The extended outtro of "Baby Blue" dismantles itself into faraway splashes of percussion, music box tinkering, and gentle acoustic guitar before launching pause-free into "The Course of Human Life," and the wistful strum of "Dinner at the Money Table" recalls the album's ambitious, organic open. The strings return for later-album standout "Exchanging Two Hundred," and Room's Too Cold ends strong with a trio of first-person songs highlighted by warm hints of organ and a few final peels of guitar that, while familiar, always work so well within this context. Enders and the Early November have made an album for the next generation of emo kids -- the un-jaded -- who see the band's heart-in-mouth poetics and lush atmospherics as pure, and not part of a methodical genre progression. By the Early November's next full-length, these young listeners might be demanding more than the gossamer austerity of Room's Too Cold, Rovi
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