Annuals – Frelen Mas

Annuals – Frelen Mas / 2007 Ace Fu / / /

The last time we heard the Annuals, they were on the “This Is Indie Rock: Volume Three” compilation put out by Deep Elm in 2005. In the mean time, they signed to Ace Fu Records, released their debut full length “Be He Me”, and have played or been played on shows like Late Night With Conan O’Brien and Veronica Mars. “Frelen Mas”, their latest release on EP, shows how the band has expanded and evolved on their previous sound, which has been linked previously to acts like Broken Social Scene and the Arcade Fire. The EP starts out with “Nah Keseyi”, and focuses on the vocals present from the onset, only allowing the instrumental side to be built up after the vocals have their time in the same. The intensity of the track gets ratcheted up considerably with a classical meets martial type of instrumentation.

The insistence of the track is exactly what is needed for the Annuals to involve everyone listening in to the EP, and sets the stage for the rest of the tracks on the EP. The same whimsical sound continues into “River Run”, but the band cultivates an earlier rock style, linking together dreamy nineties pop with the jangly brass of an older time. What results is something that is purely Annuals, with little in the way of comparisons to be made. The Annuals’ version of “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” is the track that will get the most play on this EP. Despite the fact that the Annuals are covering this track, “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” is transferred from a gospel classic to a catchy bit of indie rock that has more than its fair share of Modest Mouse present. The rest of the disc gives individuals more to chew on, and more to consider until Annuals come out with their next full length disc.

Top Track: Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

Rating: 6.8/10

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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