Ah me, but it’s refreshing to listen to a band with such a varied and distinctive sound. What make this six-piece from Raleigh, North Carolina interesting is that their album consists of such an eclectic mix even within individual songs. Probably the best song on ‘Be He Me’ is the opener, Brother which begins as an ethereal folk ballad, before morphing into a stomping, post-rock Arcade Fire-esque finale, bringing itself to a rather abrupt end.
The album continues, first into sunny pop and then the electronics and experimentalism of Carry Around, an aural union of Air and Gorillaz. Bull and the Goat is The Kinks given a frantic modern edge, while the four tracks that close the US version are all modelled on the acoustic side of ‘The Bends’ era Radiohead. The UK version is given an extra 3 songs. Ease My Mind begins as a dreary acoustic number, until country fiddles appear, whilst River Run juxtaposes an upbeat verse, that sounds like it’s being played on the piano in the saloon of a Western film, with a chorus of mournful crooning over melancholic trumpets. The closer Misty Coy recalls the early electronic experimentation of Pink Floyd. The bonus songs are intriguing, but at 15 tracks and over an hour long, ‘Be He Me’ could do with some trimming.
Annuals have interesting ideas, but their first effort lacks any notable melodies. Strong vocal lines are sometimes sorely lacking, sometimes brilliantly compensated for. Most of all this album shows ambition and promise; in a couple of years, they could be legendary.