At the risk of my indie cred, I’m going to admit that I’ve never been a huge fan of Annuals. At least not since after “Be He Me” their first record on the Ace Fu label. That release was amazing, but the next two were a little tepid and twee. But now, with “Count the Rings,” the band roars back with sophisticated, gentle, Yes-like indie pop that truly breaks new ground. They manage a “big” sound while never seeming like anything other than a little band. It’s intimate but majestic–important but not self-indulgent. Clever and catchy but not too smart to alienate the listener. And best of all, it’s not twee.
This band hasn’t sounded this good in years.