If you truly love what you do for a living, then would it be considered work?
This is the conundrum I faced when I initially described North Carolina’s Annuals, who in addition to releasing an EP (Wet Zoo) earlier this year, also released a debut album for its sister band/side-project Sunfold mere months ago. The significance of the latter release is that Sunfold retains the entire line-up through a game of non-elimination musical chairs.
Adam Baker leads the six-piece outfit (that also includes Kenny Florence, Mike Robinson, Zach Oden, Anna Spence, and Nick Radford) to a somewhat rekindling or even a tinkering of its musical sensibility with their sophomore album Such Fun. Either viewpoint requires listening to Sunfold’s Toy Tugboats, and even then you’re likely to hear the similarities rather than the differences.
After listening to Such Fun, quite the opposite happens. The opening “Confessor” (mp3 here) is the chief catalyst with its jam band-like melodies and group sing-along harmonies. That might not mean much until “Hot Night Hounds” follows with a few harder-than-expected guitar riffs. While this isn’t wholly new territory for the group, one does appreciate the more traditional ballad/up-tempo hybrids they are known for.
The first half of “Springtime” offers that serenity we all need (just imagine yourself in the album cover), but just as quickly brings you back to reality which might not be as bad as you think. Listen to “Always Do” for another dose (this time with a more country flavor).
It’s interesting to hear the band make something with a little more jolt (“Talking”), but it is also comforting to listen to more soothing numbers like the lullaby-esque “The Tape” and the peaceful serenade “Blue Ridge.”
After several executions of the repeat button, it’s safe to say that the Annuals’ latest effort is definitely a tinkering with a touch of voilà. Work is for losers, and the album title pretty much reflects the band’s feelings for this point in time.