Best known for his work fronting the Early November, after having a de facto solo project in I Can Make A Mess Like Nobody’s Business, Ace Enders finally decided to play under his own banner (sort of), as Ace Enders & A Million Different People. While the New Jersey native hasn’t exactly met with superstardom, he’s been moderately successful over the years, but about half of When I Hit The Ground sounds like he lost his job and his wife on the same day and spiraled into a self-loathing depression for the better part of a decade.
Hey, it could have happened.
But Enders’ emotional subject matter notwithstanding, his debut solo proper is half post-emo introspection meted with late ‘80s style slick pop (that’s right, I’m looking at you, single “The Only Thing I Have (The Sign)”), making for a rather catchy listen. “Reaction,” “Take The Money And Run” and “SOS” are all executed with clever harmonies and intelligent song construction. But they’re separated by a fair bit of middling material that, near the beginning of the disc, sounds as if Enders is trying to create a bit of a narrative (this was the guy who wrote a three-disc concept album in the Early November), which doesn’t really lend itself to the smaller poignant crystals he’s trying to craft here.
The end result is something of a lot of awkward transitions (particularly tonally, see the good-idea-gone-bad “Where Do We Go From Here”), but for what works on When I Hit The Ground, there’s plenty of praise to go around.