Annuals - Be He Me

Jorge Costa 28/06/2007

Rating: 4/5

'Be He Me' is the promising debut from North Carolina band, Annuals, a whimsically wistful record dotted with sharp jolts of vocal chaos that sounds like it was conceived in that twilight region of late summer.

Opener and album highlight, 'Brother' chirps quietly before exploding into life halfway through with an intense instrumental fervour supporting Adam Baker's vocal yelps. His troupe of multi-instrumentalists joyfully chant, clap and scream their way through twelve tracks where lyrical topics range from childhood escapism ('Brother', 'The Bull And The Goat') to domestic disturbances ('Fair', 'Father'). The most exuberant track here, 'Carry Around', almost sounds like an ecstasy trip ("There's magic everywhere I fucking look!...I've got lots of pills in my pocket, if you want someā€¦."), while the gorgeous album closer 'Sway' deals with the peaceful tranquility of accepting fate.

Prevalent is The Flaming Lips' quirky sense of humour as well as Midlake's charming lo-fi sensibilities with some of the electronic arrangements owing a lot to Grandaddy's 'Under The Western Freeway'. You'll undoubtedly hear more influences, but don't let that put you off; Baker manages to weave these familiar elements into something sufficiently refreshing and richly passionate.