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The Early November Branches In a New Direction With 'Lilac': Album Premiere

The Early November
Kurt Fowles

The Early November

The Early November's fifth album Lilac -- due Sept. 27 via Rise Records and premiering exclusively below -- was a different experience for group leader Arthur "Ace" Enders.

The set comes four years after the quintet's predecessor, Imbue, and gave Enders time to work on the material in a way he never had before. "Usually I write the whole thing at once, as it's happening," Enders, who produced the 11-song set at his LumberYard Recording Studio in New Jersey, tells Billboard. "But this one, I started writing for it after the Take the Chaos Tour, which was like 2016. I was planning on having it come out the next spring, early 2017, and it kept getting pushed back for one reason or another. It's totally not normal for me to go into an album where it happened like that." Lilac was, in fact, originally due out last fall, but Enders found a silver lining to those numerous delays.

"It's weird, but I think that some of the best songs that are on (the album) were the last ones," says Enders, pointing in particular to tracks such as "Fame" and "Ave Maria," the last thing he created for the album, during the early part of the year. "Without them I don't think it would have felt like as solid of an album as it is -- at least for me. It felt like everything that happened was for a good reason, and hopefully that pays off and people like the album when they hear it."

Enders acknowledges that reaction to the early incarnations of Lilac, which focused on a family member's addiction and depression, ran along the lines of, "Oh, wow, this is a dark, sad record." "I felt like I wasn't hitting the mark of where the record should be," he notes.  But working with rapper Nothing,Nowhere on the single "Ornament" proved illuminating for Embers -- and informative for the rest of Lilac. "For some reason with the Early November I never do big choruses. It's never been my thing," Embers says. "But hearing ('Ornament') on the radio and kids singing along to it was really cool to see. It was something that hadn't seemed obtainable before. But it showed me that, 'Oh wow, something I do can get that kind of reaction,' which is great. You can get depth and enjoy a little more of a lighthearted feel and still say something deep.

"It sounds like it's something that would be easy to do, but it's not that easy. But I think that made the difference, was knowing (the album) needed something more."

With those later songs on board, Enders -- who’s currently on the road with the Early November -- also found the intent of Lilac blooming into another direction. "It kind of started out being about how you can help someone. It was more specific," explains Enders. "Hopefully now it's dressed up in a way that you can't tell exactly what it is or what it's about. It's not something that just jumps right out at you as heavy. It has more depth, I think, and hopefully that makes it more powerful."

The full track list for Lilac includes:

01) Perfect Sphere (Bubble)
02) My Weakness
03) Ave Maria
04) Hit By A Car (In Euphoria)
05) Comatose
06) Fame
07) You Own My Mind
08) I Dissolve
09) Make My Bed
10) Our Choice
11) The Lilac

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