Ace Enders’ moniker for his solo work, I Can Make a Mess Like Nobody’s Business, has never been more appropriate than on his newest release, Gold Rush. The record follows the expected and perfected pattern that Enders is known to utilize, with soft acoustic strums and upbeat drumming to lay the ground for his smart and personal lyrics, but now his words take on a slightly more sour and self-conscious tone. It is clear from the first verse of opening track ‘Gold Rush’ that he has come across a new stage in his life. He croons with a misleading sweetness, “after the gold rush, didn’t think I’d be alone/so alone,” and in just a few words, he gives the listener the smallest taste of what’s to come, setting the tone for the remainder of the album. His love for that clashing contrast between light and dark is the key factor in what makes Gold Rush such an affecting and interesting album, making it a fantastic addition to his already immense collection of memorable records.
The timid teetering on the divide between brooding and upbeat melancholy is perfected on track four, ‘Complications’, where Enders nearly let’s slip the mask concealing that boiling despondence. The subject matter in the song only accentuates this feeling as he’s “usually alright” as he “bites his tongue and tries to be nice.” Since his early days with The Early November, he’s been a self-aware writer that’s basked in the glory of irony, but he has never quite brought it up to this level of in-your-face gloom with the overshadowing cheer of the music. As the album progresses he crafts and molds this intriguing concept until the slowly evolving conclusion, ‘Train Stop’. His vocals, clean and intricate, remain consistently beautiful throughout the record, and have their final shine as the last track fades out; an emotional and appropriate end to an album that deserved a proper closing.
Although there aren't the booming climaxes on this record that make his last records more traditional, Gold Rush explores a slightly new territory for Enders, and he fits it wonderfully. He’s as persistent as ever, and has easily become one of the most dependable artists for quality and memorable music. Whether he carries on his endeavors with I Can Make a Mess Like Nobody’s Business is unsure, but the prints he’s left with his three releases will not be quickly dismissed. Enders has always been a force to be reckoned with, and Gold Rush shows him at his finest.