Label: Banter Release date: 29/03/10 Website: http://www.myspace.com/annuals Annuals’ 2006 debut album ‘Be He Me’ gained plaudits from both sides of the pond and one magazine even tagged the band as “the next Arcade Fire”. They weren’t. But the band from Raleigh, North Carolina were pretty impressive and the album is an often underlooked gem. Their second album ‘Such Fun’ didn’t quite match the heights of the debut and it is a great shame they seem to have been overlooked, well, in Britain at least. Now back with ‘Sweet Sister’, a five-track EP produced by the band’s frontman Adam Baker. Opening with ‘Loxstep’, this is a band at ease with their sound and for the first minute is rather relaxing before an experimental tone takes charge and lifts the song in to a jaunty and calypso style, imagine if Vampire Weekend decided to take it easier for once and you get the idea. Although having said that, so many instruments are used in this song, it’s a wonder and to their credit they’ve managed to make something so accessible. ‘Turncloaking’ has more of a Stars feel, with Baker’s unassuming vocals at the fore over bongo drums and a general yearning tone. The title track has a similar feel but a with more childish enthusiasm that is all too infectious. Annuals are happy to throw in anything to complete their sound and the EP highlight of ‘Holler and Howl’ brings in a range of influences to its 5 minutes. Starting like an acoustic blues jaunt, their pop tendencies soon take over with an appealing and refreshing shift in tone with addictive backing vocals that wouldn’t have been out of place on a Motown release while still retaining a progressive edge. ‘Flesh and Blood’ is a bit 60s style but with Grandaddy-style keyboards. Very jangly and is has a catchy bassline, it may possibly a bit happy-clappy but is this a bad thing? An indie-folk cross-over song that will make you smile. The EP is full of pop gems with lots going on, and the biggest compliment is it sounds somewhat like Broken Social Scene on vacation. Photobucket What say you on this? Sound off in our Fourum!