Annabel Worldviews (Sea Blue)

Release date:
June 14, 2024
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On “We Are Where We Are,” a glimmering mid-tempo highlight from Annabel’s new album, Ben Hendricks sings of “a modern way to fill the empty space.” Worldviews, the band’s fourth LP and first in nine years finds the band reconciling with the ways the world has changed in the decade since they’ve been away. His protagonists are trying to determine the boundaries between what’s real and imagined, navigating their worldviews and the dominant ones around them, fighting for an escape or at least a distraction, wondering where the time goes, “going through the motions, running in a circle.” That could’ve been Annabel’s fate, too. But the core of the Ohio band is brothers Ben and Andy Hendricks, and as long as they’ve got each other, we’ve still got Annabel. In a world that feels so uncertain and so disconnected, where else is there to turn but back to Annabel? Think of Worldviews less like a comeback and more as the product of years spent gestating. Hendricks spends the chorus of “All Time” promising to “make up for all the lost time,” and Annabel makes good on that promise for the next half hour. Worldviews is the most locked in the band has ever sounded, perfecting and building on their indie-emo sound. The title track and “Dog” are classic Annabel, sprightly and jangly midwestern rock songs, while “Defense Mechanism” is a rougher-edged update; when they go in the opposite direction, it results in some of their best work: “Every Home Needs a Ghost” is spartan and spectral, worthy of its title, and the beautiful “Small Victories” dabbles in downtempo electronics. They don’t sound like a band returning after nearly a decade; they sound at the same time hungry and lively like scrappy upstarts and wizened and seasoned like they never left.

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