The spirit of Jeff Buckley is alive and well, and it's currently residing in the new music of Annuals and Sunfold.
Annuals released an EP Tuesday called Wet Zoo that includes three new songs as well as two songs by Annuals side project, Sunfold. Sunfold is essentially all of Annuals with Kenny Florence taking lead vocal/songwriting duties.
First, the Annuals songs.
The EP kicks off with "Sore" (click to download). It starts out as a beautiful, slow acoustic song and explodes like only Annuals can pull off. The violins on the track elevate the song to a new dimension. They add a symphonic element to the song that compliments Annuals sound.
The second track is the catchy, country tinged song "Around Your Neck." This song is, sonically, Annuals at their happiest. The acoustic guitar driven tune includes big group vocals singing in unison and hand claps. The bright electric lead compliments the acoustic which adds to the song's southern charm.
The Jeff Buckley influence is most obvious on the third track, "Just Stay In." From the opening moments, the melody and vocal sound similar to "Lover, You Should've Come Over" from Buckley's album Grace. The strings on this track are phenomenal. They compliment Adam Baker's voice and elevate the song. "Just Stay In" is an amazingly emotional track.
Now, for the Sunfold tracks.
While the band members may be the same, the songwriting and vocal style of Kenny Florence is very different from Annuals songwriter/singer Adam Baker. The Sunfold sound is much more straightforward than Annuals.
"Between the Worlds" is an upbeat electric rocker, with a great melody and a big chorus. The song is complete with a Queen-esque harmonized guitar solo at the end.
"Watering Pail" is a choppy rocker with a drum fill bridging almost every measure. There are moments in the song that are reminiscent of the Foo Fighters who balance smooth melody lines with rocking elements supporting vocals. The Buckley influence once again comes into play at the end of the song. The song dynamically drops while Florence wails over laid back drums and reverb soaked guitars.
Kenny Florence has an amazing voice which just can't be ignored. Unlike many "side-projects," Sunfold stands on it's own two feet. While the songs may not be adventurous as Annuals songs, the amazing melodies make the songs shine.
Expect more from Annuals later this year. They plan to release a new full-length album in the Fall. This EP should tide you over until then.