Annabel is one of those bands that do not jump out at you initially. On my first listen to their latest EP Here We Are Tomorrow I was a bit underwhelmed, and not because the music was bad. This feeling came more from within; I was tired, and it was a genre overload in a lot of ways. Nevertheless, I managed to put aside my inherent momentary biases and was happy that I did so.
Annabel falls somewhere in between Slowdive, Copeland, Park, and a tiny bit of The Pains of Being Pure of Heart. So you should expect jangly guitar lines, the nasally punk vocals, and the often quirky yet introspective lyrics. I found the instrumentation simple, clean, upbeat yet expansive – they reminded me a bit of The Smiths and Aztec Camera in that regard. The gang vocals are a nice touch to the music; I always wonder why more bands do not utilize the multi-singer dynamic. There is a distinct realness to the music, the singers’ voices sound like they are singing it right into the microphone that is connected to your speakers. Each song gives the feeling of airiness and levity making it a perfect spring and summer road trip album, except for its brisk the length. The melodies are soothing and have an exploratory feel to them, especially the instrumental portions of each song. The stand out track for me was “Summer Health”. A seemingly pre-nostalgia driven song, written from the viewpoint of somebody reflecting on times long past but written in the present. My favorite part is the end, where we are treated to an urgent and winding instrumental outro.
Never mind what people say about first impressions, I’m glad I gave these guys a second listen. The music is deceptive and manages to be subtly distinct amongst a sea of similar sounding indie rock bands. What is great is that they manage to do in five songs what it takes an average album to do in ten. Suffice to say they have done their job well and manage to run the gamut in terms of sound and emotion. Here We Are Tomorrow has definitely gotten me interested in Annabel’s future releases and the group’s potential to grow and expand.