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Ace Enders & A Million Different People
When I Hit The Ground
Vagrant Records
www.aceenders.com


For most people it goes: introduced to a new band, buy their CD, and then go check out their show. Well I'm not most people. Because with Ace Enders & A Million Different People I did it a little more like: introduced to a new band, go check out their show and then get their CD.

The band, I like. Well, Ace I like. I've enjoyed his previous work with Early November and the "Bitter Sweet Symphony" project. The show, I liked; opening for Shiny Toy Guns and The All-American Rejects is a great way to do a tour. With all this, I was able to go into his new album When I Hit The Ground with an open mind. From the first song, I'm already digging this CD. "Reintroduction" has a beginning that's so subtle and ominous. Some guitar work that's barely there and Ace's vocals taking lead. Eventually the song does pick up, only to turn around in a completely different direction. This time it's some rock plucking notes and it does it so well that you're completely drawn into the song, when out of nowhere every other instrument bursts out. I'm already impressed with Ace and its only 2:25 into the song. "Take The Money And Run" starts off with style of rock that feels like it became popular when I was going through elementary school. The 80's rhythms go nicely with nearly pop lyrics, all set to a tempo that's not too fast and not too slow (yes... just right). I'm oddly in love with "New Guitar." It only lasts just over a minute and doesn't include anything more than Ace and an acoustic guitar. But that simple beat is done perfect. Sure it's not long enough to really grasp the lyrics, but for some reason I still really like it. Title track at #5, I dig it. Break the norm of #2 or near the end. It's very much a pop rock love ballad. With love proclamations, a little bit of strings and choir-esque vocals, it's a pretty powerful ballad. Okay, "Sweeter Light," I'm fairly sure is an awesome song. That guitar lead has a little bit of Hendrix reincarnated in it. When the song gets into the thick of it, it morphs back into the pop sound we've heard earlier. But that intro is worth a vote for this number. If I didn't think I could be impressed anymore, I was wrong, because once I heard "Where Do We Go From Here" I was just blown away. The beginning is rock in its purest most perfect form. It takes me back to the days of Pearl Jam and even a bit of Silverchair. There is no better way to describe this song. You just have to hear it and now that I have, I have so much respect for Ace as a musician. The album has 14 songs, which could make for a long review, so I'll just make my way down to the last track. "Can't Run Away" has a great rhythm that's a little bit o'country and a little bit o'rock n roll. You wouldn't really bob your head to this; rather gently sway back and forth, with a foot that taps ever so slightly. The guitar pretty much sticks to the same chords, but the style they're played in has a hint of blues infused with hip-hop. It's a very creative way to end the album, I applaud.

It would be so easy to build some pre-conceived notions on what this album would sound like, based on Ace's previous projects. But do yourself a favor and ignore those notions. There may be a few songs that basically sound the same, but it's the handful of gems that really shine and deserve so much attention. Impressed is an understatement for this CD.

-Rachel Fredrickson

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