By Jeremy Hallock
By James Khubiar
By Observer Staff
By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
When a band travels in the uncharted territory between the genres of progressive, indie and pop, they walk a fine line between magnificent and stupid. Lucky for the North Carolina sextet Annuals, their latest EP, Sweet Sister, mostly falls in line with the former. The well thought-out parts scattered throughout the disc give the listener grace enough to look the other way when particular sections start sounding like 311-meets-Animal Collective.
For the indie-pop fan, there are weird keyboard sounds, impressive electronic programming and some really nice melodies. For the prog-rock listener, they've got polyrhythms, mid-song key changes and ripping guitar solos. Annuals strategically fill each song to the brim with anything from guitar riffs to drum solos, and in the process give the listener a mild case of sensory overload. But when the prog-wanking ends, the band offers rare moments of simplicity that give listeners a chance to catch their breath.
Annuals are currently touring in support of Sweet Sister, which promises a tight performance from a band of master musicians who never let up. Should be quite a show, if you like that sort of thing.
Most Serene Republic opens the show.