Annabel – Here We Are Tomorrow (EP)

Annabel - Here We Are Tomorrow coverWhen Here We Are Tomorrow first came to me for review I had a strong sensation that I’d heard Annabel before. Although I think this wasn’t the case, and I was actually suffering from a bit of ‘music geek’s name confusion’ and thinking of Annalise, alongside recognising their name from their record labels websites, I think that deja vu-ish sensation is a fitting intro for this review.

What I mean by that is Annabel are a nostalgic pop-punk outfit, one of those bands I love to love and haters to hate. It’s right there in plain view on the EP’s cover: simple presentation, an old photo of kids playing in the sea. I wouldn’t go so far as to claim Annabel are saying how much better things were back then – a moment’s thought on anyone’s part is usually enough to dismiss that sort of bullshit – but you can still look back and remember all the little moments of joy and sadness that led you to where you are today.

Or possibly I’m projecting my own thoughts and opinions onto the band, in which case I’ll shut up and get on with talking about the music now.

Opener ‘The Forgetting of Names & Faces’ is characteristically pleasant, all jangly sometimes-mildly-distorted and sometimes-clean guitars, clean and gently sung vocals (but with enough force and volume to carry over the dense music). It’s a soothing song although the lyrics carry a sense of disquiet: “names and faces / always standing in the place / of every occasion / with everyone i used to know / names and faces / always getting in the way”.

‘Repetition, Etc.’ has an excellent turn from the rhythms section, the bass and drums conveying a marching rhythm that the guitar throws rapid picks over the top of. The vocal line’s a perfect fit, as are the backing gang vocals that appear towards the end – although I’m less sure about the crackly, almost choral ending.

‘We Came As Today’ is a more energetic and chirpy number, although the pace and verse vocals quickly recall ‘The Forgetting of Names & Faces’. The chorus, happily, is a bit more exciting (and reminds me of someone I’m still not able to squish a mental finger down onto). Lyrically it’s a bittersweet offering, concluding that everything will be alright… by way of acknowledging that things might not really change and we may not be trained to think the way we have to live.

‘Summer Health’ is another backwards-looking number and is a perfectly pleasant mid-pace tune with the warmth you’d expect from that title, but there’s nothing I have to say about it that I’ve not already said above. However, for those of us who acquired the digital edition of this EP there’s a fifth track, titled either ‘New Learning Possibilities’ or ‘The Secrets of Learning’ depending on your source. It’s the slowest song present and steadily builds. It is, unfortunately, a predictable build-up and the song doesn’t stray far outside what the band have already established. It does, however, have some more fine lyrics (in just a few lines it acknowledges the value of silence, intentionally or not references Samuel Beckett’s credo “fail better”, and takes a shot at either critics [hi!] or arrogant, more successful bands) and feature some lush delay, particularly towards its close.

Overall Here We Are Tomorrow is a good, solid EP. It’s also a consistent and soothing experience, and for those who follow the lyrical themes it demonstrates intelligence in exploring and unpicking its subject matter. You can stream it from Bandcamp or buy it from Tiny Engines – give it a try.

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