Review : Annuals - Such Fun
BillboardThis North Carolina-based sextet's major-label debut is as rich and diverse as 2006's "Be He Me," unfolding with layers of piano and string flourishes, crunching guitar jams and vibrant pop melodies. Gone are the Flaming Lips-style psychedelic bursts of its predecessor—in their place are a handful of countrified tunes ("Down the Mountain," the slide guitar-backed "Always Do") that lend the album a more scenic quality throughout. The season-appropriate melody of "Springtime" is disrupted by pounding drums before coalescing into a chorus that's as forceful as it is beautiful; "Hot Night Hounds" plays out like Sufjan Stevens embracing his love for electric guitar solos; and the driving pop of "Confessor" boasts a string-laced, harmony-rich chorus. With each additional listen, "Such Fun" reveals something new. —Jill Menze...full text
EwThere's plenty to like about this North Carolina six-piece — pretty piano melodies; impeccably layered instrumentation; singer Adam Baker's gentle, expressive vocals — but, unfortunately, not a ton to love. Annuals seem to pull so heavily from the Indie Rock 101 syllabus (see: the Shins, Arcade Fire) that their own identity gets lost in a wash of perfectly capable songcraft. While it has several nice moments of sprawling countryfolk fervor, a more accurate title for Such Fun might have been Not Bad. B...full text
AvclubIt's appropriate that the work of the late Bob Ross, the happily earnest, afro-sporting host of PBS' The Joy Of Painting, adorns the cover of Annuals' sophomore full-length Such Fun. The indie-pop group seems to live in one of Ross' fantasy worlds, brightly skipping through vibrant landscapes to the beat of their own shining, innocent pop tunes. 2006's Be He Me was a relaxing breath of fresh air from the orchestral intensity of Arcade Fire and their imitators, and Such Fun continues Annuals' knack for taking the hollow sounds of The Cure and The Walkmen and filling it in with cheery exuberance. Like a Ross painting, Annuals' sound looks impeccably unblemished; there's something refreshing about the clean polish of melodic mini-epics such as "Confessor." But, also like Ross paintings, its songs' easy formula becomes uninteresting with repetition: Such Fun soars with wide-open harmonies—none more so than "Springtime," where one can almost imagine small forest animals joining in with jubilant rapture—but it seems that now Annuals have the technique down, they're just gleefully rehashing it....full text
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