Sunday, August 24, 2008

Under Examination: Annuals


This is undeniably one of the best opening tracks I've ever heard. Hyperbole? Hardly. In fact, the track is so amazing that it makes the rest of the album seem tepid in comparison (and Be He Me was an awesome album). It's rather deceptive, as the song opens with a field recording of crickets at night, and whispered vocals from Adam Baker. Tranquil, fingerpicked guitar is complimented by a pentatonic (read: "Asian sounding") string embellishment. As soon as you've been seduced into a restful realm, the strings' presence builds, extra-terrestrial synth tones hover around, and you're no longer in a peaceful field at night. 
Somebody yells "GO!", and the real journey begins. Huge guitar strums linger as a stomping beat propels the group ever higher. Other voices join Baker's (some doubling parts, others harmonizing), and a room full of singers joins in. The most exciting part of the track is the excellent drum work. During the second verse of the second half of the song, the drummer provides an exhilarating, furious polyrhythmic pattern, propelling the track to an abrupt end. One of my favorite songs of the last few years, no question.

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