A five-song stopgap between their well-received 2007 album Let Me Live and follow-up long-player currently in the works, this EP is apparently only available at the Band Of Annuals’ live shows. All the more reason to go see them: In addition to being one of the most promising alt-country bands working the national club circuit in recent years, they’re also getting increasingly confident in the studio, as the three fresh cuts here attest.
The highlight is the leadoff track, “Echo”, written by fellow Salt Lake City songwriter David Williams. It’s notable in part for the degree to which Band Of Annuals kicks things up a notch from their typically more languorous pace and tempo; not surprisingly, they’ve been making this song a set-closer of late, as it carries that sort of dramatic drive, highlighted by singer Jay Henderson’s cathartic shout near the end of the song. Equally as important – on this track and throughout – are the beguiling backing vocals of keyboardist Jeremi Hanson; her harmonizing is the kind of spark that can take a good song and turn it into magic. A secret weapon is the pedal-steel melodicism delivered by Brent Dreiling, who drifts dreamlike atmospheric accents over the bedrock foundation laid by guitarist Jamie Timm, bassist Trever Hadley and drummer Charlie Lewis.
Rounding out the EP are “Part III”, a 2007 outtake that previously appeared on the Salt Lake compilation Around The Bend; and a live-radio (from Tucson) rendition of “Casey Jones”, one of the standouts from the Let Me Live album. The latter runs six and a half minutes, but it casts a spell that lingers considerably longer.
Band Of Annuals perform “Casey Jones” at the Basement in Nashville, TN, September 20, 2008.