Up until now, Annuals might have been stuck at the indie-rock kids' table – but that's all about to change. Like other large, youth-heavy bands, Annuals – until this point – relied on a wash of sound and tumbling rhythms to exert their abundant energy. On their second album though, the six-piece discovers a gorgeous layer of complexity by emphasizing the strengths of each member.
Whereas their previous material was a much looser assortment of uptempo rock organics, Such Fun is a sophisticated blend of different speeds and textures. The album begins with the strong "Confessor", which is built on an agile rhythm and warming mix of guitars and strings. From there, the percussion, guitar riffs, and vocals all become extremely powerful on the dramatic "Hot Night Hounds", and the piano-led "Springtime". Early on, it becomes clear that Annuals have picked up a lot of ideas and techniques since their debut, Be He Me.
Each instrument on Such Fun has a whole new level of distinctness, giving each track a larger, more developed sound. The flickering guitars mixed with the patter of drums and swirling vocal harmonies on "Hardwood Floor" might actually be the most sophisticated country song ever recorded. Not to mention how the elegance of strings and piano on "Blue Ridge" are joined by a touch of harp and other gorgeous instrumentation much like a Tchaikovsky night at the Grand Ole Opry. The spacing of individual sounds throughout each charming mix has an impressive touch.
They might still be young, but Annuals have developed by leaps and bounds on Such Fun. The band's already-exposed natural abilities get showcased even more, and will surely translate to an excellent live show as well.