North Carolinians Annuals have spent their early years opening for some of the world’s most innovative and joyful acts, with lengthy stints on tour with both Calexico and the Flaming Lips among others. Being surrounded by happiness all the time has clearly rubbed off, as their second full album, ‘Count The Rings’, is bursting with warmth. Made up of gentle, lilting rhythms and summery pop hooks, its eleven tracks wash lightly over you, gradually growing in your mind, before becoming fixtures for days. ‘Eyes In The Darkness’ is a dreamier Vampire Weekend, ‘Hair Don‘t Grow’ is like vintage Weezer and ‘Loxstep’ like a Libertines track helmed by Phil Spector. ‘Count The Rings’ is a wonderful indie pop record. Full of energy, verve and life-affirming tracks. Not far from perfect.

By Tom Goodwyn

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