“Loxtep” – Annuals

Fingertips veterans from Raleigh, Annuals have been featured three previous times over the past four years and somehow are still only in their early 20s. I promise at some point to stop pointing out how young they are. But geez, just listen to the conviction with which they render their exuberant, unusually structured, complex yet relentlessly attractive 21st-century rock’n’roll. I need to keep noting their relative youth because otherwise you’d never know.

“Loxtep” is another shot of Annuals adrenaline, and if it again features a characteristic shift in dynamics, note how this pliable sextet continues to explore different ways to affect that shift. This time, it’s not a straightforward matter of going from soft to loud, or slow to fast; instead, when the band crosses the dynamic borderline, at 1:08 (and can’t you sense it coming, as it gets closer?), the tempo does not increase, and while the volume does to an extent, the song isn’t as much louder after the change as deeper, and more intense. Basically, the rhythm section has kicked in, both drum and bass adding bottom to the mix that wasn’t there before (the most significant percussion we heard in the first minute was, charmingly enough, castanets). But at the same time, strange stuff is happening, such as that funky-sounding synth joining in (1:21) apparently for the fun of it.

I won’t begin to try to untangle further “Loxtep”‘s structure–which features among other things a series of musical reconfigurations of previously heard motifs–except to point out how, at around 3:05, the song manages to turn something that wasn’t the chorus (namely, the lyrical phrase beginning with “lying around”) into a sort of second, de facto chorus. Here’s a band that is truly reimagining what a pop song can be even as you can still sing and dance along. “Loxtep” is from Sweet Sister, a five-song EP the band will release next month on Banter Records. MP3 via Banter.




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