Annabel is a four-piece emo outfit from Kent, Ohio. I was first introduced to them at WMCFest 2011 and purchased Each and Everyone as their set ended. It was too good not to bring it back to Illinois.

Their most recent LP, Youth in Youth, was released in November 2012 through Count Your Lucky Stars Records.

Youth in Youth is home to introspective songs with honest lyrics, all dealing with growing up in the Midwest. It kicks off with the anthemic and triumphant “Young American.” Singer Ben Hendricks’ vocals and delivery have a warm quality to them. They’re engaging and likable, even easy to sing along with (see “The Dept. Of Mutual Appreciation”). The instrumental tracks “Theme from Home” and “Rapids” offer some room to breathe between the rest of Annabel’s driving album.

Though it may at times feel a bit monotonous, the album is not lacking in interesting pieces. Actually, I think the bit of monotony might simply come from each song reaching its epic climax in a similar way – perhaps just an issue of album structure. That being said, I feel I need to restate: Annabel’s songs are each epically climactic. Jam-packed with emotion, both lyrically and instrumentally, these tracks are composed wonderfully.

I haven’t felt particularly strongly about anything coming out of the “emo” genre in years; I’ll even admit to being dismissive of a lot of it. Annabel, however, is a solid reminder that there are talented musicians and lyricists in that realm. Youth in Youth is an enjoyable album and a good stepping stone in case you haven’t visited the genre in a while.

August 29 at Grog Shop in Cleveland Heights, OH

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