The members of the Early November were young enough to have grown up with the Drive-Thru Records sound, a formula that incorporated sensitive emo, pop, and punk revivalist amalgams with a bit of post-hardcore grit. The band first emerged in 2000, fighting to secure shows in their busy South Jersey scene while hoping to land a deal with Drive-Thru. By 2002, they succeeded when label figureheads Richard and Stefanie Reines signed vocalist/guitarist "Ace" (Arthur) Enders, bassist Sergio Anello, drummer Jeff Kummer, and guitarist Joseph Marro on the strengths of their demo and solid buzz. They made their label debut with the For All of This EP later that year. Promising appearances on the Warped Tour's Drive-Thru stage that summer spread the word, and by late 2003 the band's full-length debut, Room's Too Cold, was released.
It was a particularly lush take on the Drive-Thru sound, with strings and ballads and a focus on the rich vocal presence of Enders. The band toured extensively behind the record; Enders later issued the first effort from his solo project I Can Make a Mess Like Nobody's Business in late 2004 and briefly toured behind the disc. Enders then turned back to the Early November, and writing began that summer for their follow-up sophomore release. Recording commenced in February 2005 with a fifth member on board, guitarist Bill Lugg. The band also released a summer split EP with I Am the Avalanche, Vinnie Caruana's post-Movielife project. The resulting The Mother, the Mechanic, and the Path was eventually issued in July 2006 as an ambitious triple album. Boasting a rock-oriented disc ("The Mechanic"), a more mellow, stripped-down disc ("The Mother"), and a third character-based soundtrack with dialogue to intermingle among the first two ("The Path"), the album debuted at number 31 on the Billboard Top 200. Various rounds of touring followed. In March 2007, however, the bandmembers announced their plans to go on an indefinite hiatus after the completion of scheduled dates that year.
Following a four-year hiatus, the Early November reunited for a show in Philadelphia in late 2011. Additional shows were soon added and the bandmembers revealed they had signed with Rise Records to record their first album since 2006. Despite the time off, the band's third album, In Currents, fared well, reaching number 43 on the Top 200 and number six on the Independent Albums chart upon its 2012 release. Their fourth album, Imbue, arrived in the spring of 2015 and was once again produced by Enders. The Early November's next release was in the form of a career-spanning retrospective called Fifteen Years. Released in early 2017 by Bad Timing Records, the album featured new acoustic recordings of songs from throughout the band's history.