Just when you think indie rock has more than its share of quick-witted, sweet, and ambitious individuals who exclaim their undying earnestness in song, along comes Annuals, a collective from North Carolina that will surely win your heart with their bright folk-pop stylings. Singer/songwriter Adam Baker is the resident wunderkind behind it all, sacrificing convention for unabashed pop loveliness on the band's debut album, Be He Me. Not as rigid as the Arcade Fire and a bit more playful than Sufjan Stevens, Annuals create a fairytale-like place that's as rich in imagery as it is in sound (think Broken Social Scene), and songs such as the vibrant jeers of "Brother" and the silver-tongued choruses of "Complete, or Completing" make Annuals one of the most exciting arrivals of 2006. Baker and company just make it seem so easy and so much fun that one cannot help but fall for the hysterical guitar-driven moments of "Bleary-Eyed" and "Carry Around." Annuals will make you dance without a care in the world, and that is a great feeling. Yet a surly sense of humor also creeps underneath these mini-pop epics, too, particularly on the dawdling "Chase You Off." It's nice to see that Baker, at his youthful 20 years of age, doesn't strive to be anything but the clever, impressionable young man he is. The bright-eyed display of Be He Me couldn't have been done any better, and that in itself is a welcome refresher when it comes to listening to indie rock today.
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AllMusic Review by MacKenzie Wilson