Annuals – Sweet Sister EP (2010)

With only two full-length albums under its belt, Raleigh, North Carolina-native indie band Annuals has the kind of voice and sound normally reserved for more experienced groups. This isn’t your typical band.

Pressed with the notion it can make any music it wants, Annuals has been uncontrollably crafting tunes almost nonstop since debuting its first album Be He Me in 2006. That includes a sophomore album Such Fun, several thousand EPs, a spin-off band Sunfold that includes the exact same lineup but just different batting order, and nonstop touring.

Workaholics, sure, but I can’t imagine such consistently imaginative, yet polished style. Band leader Adam Baker returns to produce the band’s most recent effort Sweet Sister (along with Kenny Florence, Mike Robinson, Zack Oden, Anna Spence, and Nick Radford). The EP features a casual easygoing charm often found while vacationing on a tropical seashore paradise.

Listening to the opening “Loxtep” I keep daydreaming about sipping on margaritas and losing my thoughts to ocean waves. The song’s mellow tone offers respite from the more brazen flare of Jimmy Buffet or even Kenny Chesney. Different genres, I know, but hopefully you get the idea.

The following “Turncloaking” emotes a different feeling, like a sensual desire or even a subtle lust. Maybe it’s the bongo drums that pepper throughout it, but that feeling is slightly less subtle and a bit more playful in the title track “Sweet Sister.”

You probably couldn’t be more playful in the carnival-like, somewhat vaudeville-esque “Holler And Howl” where the band unleashes a cornucopia of instrumental flavors and sights. Don’t worry; the finale “Flesh And Blood” brings the band back to its folksy indie roots.

It’s amazing how the band manages to create such an encompassing and expansive EP of just five tracks, yet Sweet Sister feels much more meaningful than whole double-disc albums or even entire artist catalogs. Exaggeration, sure, but for as cool a band as Annuals that is being modest.

[photo via Brian Vetter]

Track list:

    1. Loxtep
    2. Turncloaking
    3. Sweet Sister
    4. Holler And Howl
    5. Flesh And Blood

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