If ‘Brother’ was any more gorgeous Win Butler would sue. This is Annuals’ introduction proper to the UK market, following an EP lost in the fogs of time, and it’s just about wonderful enough to have a perfectly sane and straight gentleman want to passionately French-kiss a passing suit under the most perfect sunshine this side of Shipwrecked. This is, quite probably, the finest slice of symphonic indie-rock that’ll never make an impact on mainstream radio. The why: it takes what feels like forever to actually kick in.
But when it does, when it does… it sweeps you off your itty-bitty tip-toes and carries you up to the clouds, up to heights that so very few acts of this ilk can actually reach. Yes, Arcade Fire are an obvious parallel, and a nod to Broken Social Scene wouldn’t go amiss in the referential stakes, but this is no pastiche, no act of plagiarism. There’s no way anything so gloriously triumphant, so expressionist, so wonderfully otherworldly could derive exclusively from existing material; sure, echoes resonate, but to a tone entirely of Annuals’ own making.
‘Brother’ probably isn’t the song to propel Annuals to the levels of acclaim and adoration achieved already by those aforementioned acts – there are enough pop-orientated songs on their Be He He LP to break radio in this country, and win over the hordes in the process – but it is a song that those listening to the static in modern indie’s margins will fall in love with, without fail. It’s a song to dive into and float to the surface of, sinking slowly as its final seconds fade to stillness and silence.
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8Mike Diver's Score