annuals sweet sister ep
  • MONDAY, MARCH 29, 2010

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Adam Baker has drastically revamped his six piece pop outfit to a sound he is more keen on producing... and it shows in both quality and creativity. The Sweet Sister EP abandons the quaint organic threads of Such Fun for a partly sci-fi electro-exploration, one which ironically sounds like it was more fun that its predecessor to record and mix. The resulting collection is a mix of classic foot-stomping pop and the futuristic lazer-sharp noises that made Odd Blood such a triumph. It is great to hear a band from Raleigh that sounds like alt-country from the year 3000.

The short set consists of songs that pop with their harmonies and poly-rhythmic qualities, not to mention charming lyrical quips. First song "Loxtep" is both immediate and relaxed, a balance that strikes a particularly engaging chord right out the gate. Baker's subtle infusion of Afro-pop elements (barely traceable) is a great nod to the popularity of the genre in both the exploitive (Vampire Weekends) and other acts (everyone else). The bass lick in the titular "Sweet Sister" especially reinforces this POV. "Turncloaking" as well (great word), with syncopated drums and harmonic layering that gives the whole song a bit of color and depth. The rest of the tracks also solidify the alt-country 3000 moniker; "Holler and Howl" is like a Futurama square dance, and "Flesh and Blood" is as North Carolina barnyard as Annuals gets on this EP (and pleasurably so).

All these influences, from the time-warped synthetics to the good old Southern sensibilities melt together into a fresh sound that both pleases and proliferates. Often an EP simply tell you everything you need to know for forthcoming albums (or when to avoid them), but Sweet Sister is more like an Indiana Jones codex of ideas and mysteries... one that requires several different approaches to piece together the message. It draws you in with its charm, and convinces a deeper exploration of its various vantage points. By the end, if you aren't psyched for a full length of Sweet Sister type tracks, you must be a zombie. -joe puglisi

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MP3:"Loxtep" - Sweet Sister EP
Annuals on Myspace

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