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MP3 of the Day #214: Annuals

 
By on Sunday, 18th July 2010 at 10:00 am
 

I first saw Annuals when they supported The National way back in 2007, but things have gone kind of quiet since then. So imagine my childlike excitement at seeing them on the NME website with a track that is typically off-kilter – starting off all summery and Caribbean, it’s a pretty euphoric song with pretty dark lyrics. Take a dash of Flaming Lips, a hint of Mew and a bit dollop of Arcade Fire and you’re not even half way there. Check them out and fall in love. Seriously.

MP3: Annuals – Eyes in the Darkness
[audio:https://www.theregoesthefear.com/media/201007/annuals-eyesinthedarkness.mp3]

 

Album Review: Annuals / Such Fun

 
By on Friday, 31st October 2008 at 9:31 pm
 

This post appeared originally on the brilliant Four Oh Five, and is one in our continuing series of guest blogs from their capable team of authors.

Its exam time, and I’ve been looking for any reason to procrastinate. Normally this involves a lot of unnecessary movie watching, video game playing, and cleaning and tidying. This semester it has also involved a lot of unnecessary listening to ‘Such Fun’ by Annuals.

It’s not that ‘Such Fun’ is a bad album; it’s just not a particularly interesting one. On first listen it sounds like the sort of album that requires a bit of attention to understand, however after many listens it’s clear that this isn’t the case. The songs are well-written and thought out, most often making use of multiple layers of melody, percussion and harmonies to build up to what should be an emotive crescendo. But despite this, most songs here feel hollow and calculated. While there may be instrumental depth, the music doesn’t convey any tangible sentiment significant enough to sink your teeth into. ‘Such Fun’ sounds like indie music by numbers.

The music isn’t done a disservice by the vocals, either. On tracks like ‘Down the Mountain’ and first single ‘Confessor’, singer Adam Baker eloquently espouses disenchantment and hopelessness that should contrast well with the upbeat musical backing. And while it’s true that the album doesn’t make any attempt to fit within genre boundaries, this isn’t its main fault either. ‘Such Fun’ just sounds polished to the point of meaninglessness. Listening to it, you constantly feel like it should be a good album, that you must be missing something. But despite its complex big-band sound and strong lyricism, ‘Such Fun’ left me feeling somewhat cold, and somewhat confused.

 

Live: The National and Annuals at London’ Astoria

 
By on Wednesday, 23rd May 2007 at 3:12 pm
 

Matt Berninger of The National“I’m not really a big talker” mumbled The National‘s lead singer, Matt Berninger about halfway through their set. For some bands, this fact would make for a very dull evening. Not with The National, who let their music do the talking rather than giving us long monologues about their journey to the top, life on the road and such like.

First, we’ll rewind 90 minutes to when Annuals first opened up. I’d listened to their myspazz and, well, I wasn’t that impressed. However live they’re something else. The first song had the hairs on the back of my neck standing up, such was their enthusiasm and volume. Swapping and changing instruments like nobody’s business, they showed they were more than adept at creating a quality live show.

Unfortunately I have no idea about names of songs, but their set just blew me away. Haunting, loud, and interesting, they really are an intense live experience that can only grow with time. Check them out, and even if you don’t like their myspazz give them a go live at the festivals this summer.

The main event soon came around, with The National quietly shuffling on stage and bursting into “Start A War” from their new album, before working their way through most of “Boxer” and some of the old favourites from “Alligator“.

The closing three songs were some of the best of the show, with “Daughters of the Soho Riots” seeing the entire audience silent for its haunting beauty, before Matt launched into the highlight of the night, “Mr. November”. 2,000 people all screaming “I won’t fuck us over, I’m Mr. November” simultaneously was quite something to hear, particularly after the quietness of the previous song. Over too quickly, they launched into current single “Fake Empire”, which was just as good live as it was on record.

After coming back for the encore, they launched into one of my favourites “About Today”, a perfect rain-down-the-window moment with the whole audience’s attention held, even the drunks behind me. Due to demand they then came back for one final song after their encore, “Gospel” from their new album, though with a slightly dodgy grand piano, which just enhanced the feeling of a magical evening even more.

The National are playing a lot of the UK festivals over the summer, so be sure to check them out if you get the chance. Photos etc after the jump.

Continue reading Live: The National and Annuals at London’ Astoria

 
 
 

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

All MP3s are posted with the permission of the artists or their representatives and are for sampling only. Like the music? Buy it.

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