Leeds Music Scene

Brother by Annuals

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Reviewed on 10th June 2007.



By Annuals

It's somewhat disconcerting how bands now appear pre-packaged within a handy little publicist bundle. Cute little back stories are provided as are their preferred frames of reference, if not on an accompanying press sheet then through carefully constructed interviews and MySpace pages. Annuals themselves are rarely more than a sentence away from a mention of Arcade Fire. Bands tend to arrive like an old steam train, there's the hint of a smokey trail on the horizon as their name is dropped on the NME Radar or Playlist. My assumption is that this approval is typically prefaced by a performance that has been judged as sufficiently worthy at SXSW or canonisation from an influential American webzine. The commotion gets louder as they pick up airplay on a late night Radio 1 show and organise a couple of high-profile previews at London's venues of choice. Next thing you know their record is sat gathering dust on your shelf alongside that D4 album.

So be ready to jettison the Arcade Fire comparisons as (at least on this track) Annuals have clung on to their rough edges and created something more along the lines of Animal Collective. 'Brother' strictly adheres to a policy of switching jarringly between silence and violence. They lull you in with comforting strings and a backdrop of nature samples, the world at ease. Apparently a proposed live performance of the track got canned by the Conan O'Brien execs for having "too slow of a beginning for television" (cute story courtesy of MySpace). Strange as I'd have thought the main problem would actually have been when frontman Adam Baker leads a visceral headlong charge towards oblivion midway through the track's three minutes ("I fell down in a creek bed / Brother wept / In his face I met fear / That I could die right there").

Buried within the cacophony is a story that marks out where childhood begins to fade and the burgeoning development of the hang-ups that increased knowledge seem to inevitably bring. Baker combines his rage with a measure of resignation - inside you know you can't go back but that doesn't stop you wanting it all the same ("Now I've grown bold and lonely / I should have stayed with dear Brother at home / But we grew up old").

The fact that 'Brother' has been judged as not fit for TV consumption is a measure of the subtle differences in status (and palatability) between Annuals and a certain other band. For now they'll just have to deal with not pulling the strings, it's all a part of growing up.



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