The Anniversary - Designing a Nervous Breakdown
I could tell this record was going to rock after the first ten seconds of the first track. "The Heart
is a lonely hunter" introduces us to this emotional, honest, yet happily-upbeat album with a well-
timed guitar intro that makes you want literally hop, skip, and jump into the oncoming wave of rock.
Yeah, a comparison to the Get Up Kids would not be unfounded, but these kids do it with more style.
This becomes apparent by track 2, "All Things Ordinary," my personal favorite. You can't help but sing
along to these beautifully hamonized male and female vocals, interwoven with the sweet, sweet sound of
Moog synth (ok, so I'm a Moog freak, shoot me). Some might say it's cliche to throw a Moog into your
linup, as we've seen a number of bands do recently, but the synthesizer sound is not an accessory to
this band - they fully integrate keyboards into this record, without being obnoxious about it. I'm
going to give credit for this achievement to a god of rock, and one of my personal heroes, David
Trumphio, who recorded, produced, engineered, and mixed the album at his Kingsize Sound Lab in Chicago.
He brings to the table his experience as mastermind of the synth-laden Pulsars, and production skills
of bands the likes of Number One Cup. A wise decision, to say the least, remeniscent of the student/master
relationship of Weezer and Ric Ocasek...the Anniversary should be well on their way to Jedi status.
Anyway, back to the rock. What strikes me about this record is the complete honesty in which the lyrics
are, in essence, "confessed" to the listener. In this case, it's not wavering, close-to-tears vocals
that are so convincing. This is emo without the drama, meaningful lyrics, but no sreaming or crying.
Almost as if the band had a good cry before stepping into the studio, we hear what needs to be said
in a matter-of-fact tone. I'm reminded of the almost numbed sound of the Matt Sharp/Cherilyn Westrich
combo of the Rentals, but energized by more powerful, considerate instrumentaion. However, like the
Rentals 1st record was pretty much homogenized, essentially using the same template for each track,
I would like to see more experimentation on this album. Maybe this is something that will come in
time..but, after all, you can't blame these guys for finding what they do well and sticking with it.
I look forward to their next release, and whatever growth might take place over time. But for now, I
see the Anniversary going places. Original enough to gain respect, catchy enough to gain popularity.
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