The first full-length release from Virginia's Prabir & the Substitutes, Annabelle, I'm Coming Home Tonight introduces the band's mix of retro pop/rock songcraft and crunchy guitar muscle. Tracks like "Kissing on the Lawn" and "You Are" (whose climatic bridge models itself after the Beatles' "This Boy," complete with a throaty, Lennon-styled high note) are pure '60s pop, with jangled guitars and multi-part harmonies flanking Prabir Mehta's vocals. The bandmates originally cut their teeth in local rock bands, however, and that background fuels some of the album's best moments: the chaotic conclusion to "Stale Bread," the 45-second wallop of an opening track, and the entirety of "Slow," where Epiphones and melodies meet in a loud, hook-filled union. Although the Substitutes' sound wouldn't fully coalesce until the arrival of organist Charlie Glenn, who joined the lineup mere months after this debut's release, Annabelle is a solid start from one of America's best underground pop bands.
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AllMusic Review by Andrew Leahey