It’s been a while since my last review and I’m still shaking off the writing cobwebs. After multiple tests and papers discussing the typical critiques of Western academia over the past few weeks, that module of my brain is somewhat worn out. So I am approaching the end of the decade with a somewhat lazy, but never inattentive, mindset on these necessary explorations of the musical persuasion. I can only hope that with a solid month of almost solely listening to Joe Pass’ jazz guitar, I still remember all that other music that also piques my interest.
Annabel is a young trio hailing from Kent, Ohio, the same town as Midwest favorites like Six Parts Seven and The Party of Helicopters. After two self-released EP’s, we come to their debut full-length Each and Everyone. To be honest, I first assumed that this group would be an attempt to replicate the corny sentiment of bands like The Early November and Mae, a style that I only face with a select few guilty pleasures. The name leaves something to be desired, easily interchangeable with Eisley, Anberlin, or whatever arbitrary first name is deemed odd enough to represent a whole band.
Luckily for me, my first impressions were rather hasty. Each and Everyone starts out with “Sleeping Lions,” a lush and flowing entrance complete with bells, a slowly building drum track, and an infectiously catchy chorus. The melodies are rather simple but very articulate in their layering, bringing to mind early Jimmy Eat World or Deep Elm bands like Cross My Heart. While Annabel’s similarities to more contemporary sounds are still applicable, they by no means govern the way the band functions. Vocalist Ben Hendricks showcases a vocal range that reminds me of Built to Spill, which compliments the wonderfully produced instrumentals. The spacey guitars found throughout the album give Annabel an Appleseed Cast feel, while significantly more straightforward. The second track, “People and Places,” boasts a pleasant amalgamation of the guitars and bass that lends itself to a wonderful bridge.
After one full listen of this record, I was intrigued, and after five listens I was hooked. From the poppier “Parade Rest” to the insistency of the layered vocals on “In Droves,” I couldn’t help but tip my hat to this band. They seem to be aiming for that late 90’s sentiment of post-hardcore Midwest bands, and this sound manifests itself with strong melodic overtones that rarely come off as corny. Although I originally thought Annabel was grounded in mid-millennial influences, it seems clear that their allegiance lies closer to bands like Christie Front Drive. This band has made their case for being a step ahead of the pack and Each and Everyone proves that they have the capacity to go well beyond that.
8.0 / 10
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