Published May 08, 2015On their second full-length release since their return from hiatus, the Early November have delivered a set of songs that are significantly varied in terms of tone and pacing. Although this is novel to a certain extent, as a whole, Imbue comes off scattered and unfocused, each song feeling like a half-hearted attempt at appealing to a different audience.
The album starts off relatively strong, with hard-hitting choruses in "Narrow Mouth" and upbeat, catchy verse lines in "Magnolia," but lose momentum quickly thereafter. The hooks feel watered down and are unmemorable in the constant flux that is the second half of the album, and the vocal arrangements often feel lazy and uninspired, lingering within melodic pockets of little variation. Slower songs lack the poignancy and intimacy that the band grasp for, and the uptempo ones don't stick nearly as well as the first few. The Early November are more than capable of writing powerful songs as evidenced by the way Imbue begins, but by failing to concentrate their efforts to create a more unified whole, they have done themselves a disservice. (Rise)