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Anniversary | Your Majesty | review | alternative | rock | Lollipop

The Anniversary

Your Majesty (Vagrant)
by Scott Hefflon

The Anniversary have really come a long way. From a decent Kansas City emo/New Wave band riding The Get Up Kids' coattails (destined to be a short ride) to Your Majesty, which establishes The Anniversary as a creative force to be reckoned with. The Get Up Kids and their label, Heroes & Villains, were smart to see potential in this band, and to urge them to wait until the fledgling label got off its feet to sign them. And, for what it's worth, The Anniversary should do very, very well as a bridge between kids who like emo cuz they don't know any better (and there are a lot of them) and twentysomethings looking for a new band with a fire in their belly but the intelligence to go somewhere with it.

Funny, cuz people's first reaction to this record falls distinctly into one of two categories: They'd heard the band before and wondered why I was sitting them down to listen to yet another crappy emo washout, and once they heard it, they stopped struggling and remarked, "Hey, this is niiiice," or they were unfamiliar with the band (the disease that is shallow emo rock has only infected some, most still wonder what all the fuss is about), shrugged and said "So this is that mop-topped Mod shit your guys are always on about, huh? What's the big deal, they've listened to Floyd. So have I. Will you let go of my arm now?"

And they're both right. It's sweet and it sounds like Pink Floyd. Dreamy and kinda dark, male/female voices hugging each other fondly, rolling keyboards and layered vocals and mood as thick as the bong smoke at the kind of parties you'll spend the rest of your life wishing you went to more of, all the wondrous elements of '60 psychedelic rock, and while it's kinda retro, this is happening now, man, and it's happening... H&V and Vagrant carefully/carelessly leave out any mention of, ya know, the Stones or Floyd or the Beatles or any such milemarkers in the bio, and what, we're supposed to think this band invented the stuff? So while it's up to you to pick'n'choose what elements are creative and fresh and what are pretty obvious lifts/swipes, man, it's pretty hard to deny that the whole vibe is as pleasant as sunshine and a warm breeze gently blowing against your face. As calculated as I am, I have trouble picking apart each bass line, vocal, keyboard line and harmony to try to isolate what I like about it, where the magic lies, and what perhaps could use a little work, and I'm overjoyed to say I can listen to this CD about three times from end to end before wanting to get up and change it. Quite amazing, seeing as most CDs - even favorites - I program only the highlights. That, too, is a sign of learning the lessons of "old school" rock: A record is a whole, not a couple singles and a bunch of failed attempts of the same formula.

Songs seem to often mention wind and rain and eyes and loss and shaking hips and the sea and lines such as "Drink Mother's milk and be free," "Tonight may never shine/ If you never open your eyes," and "Bang on the drum, is it loud enough?' don't seem at all out of character, and the closing 2:30 fade out repeating "And we all follow the sun/ Come everyone, follow the sun" is such an uplifting Floydian feel-good refrain, you forget to judge it...
(2118 Wilshire Blvd. #361 Santa Monica, CA 90403)


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