A Doll's House - Annum

by Kevin Wierzbicki

Here's a very impressive debut from a Los Angeles-based band comprised of four guys in their 50s, not the usual circumstances for an act that's just starting out. Actually the guys have been writing songs together in anonymity for three decades; they caught a break after Brian Wheat of Tesla heard their stuff and jumped in to arrange, record, mix and generally shape Annum. The band --- singer David Santos, guitarist Dav Petrunich, bass man Seth Rafkin and drummer Tony DeFranco --- have definite prog leanings, evident in opening track "And Time," a cut that finds Petrunich shining with fluid guitar parts while Santos sings lyrics about the passage of time, words that are quite clear in their meaning in one respect and shrouded in mystery in another. "Hey Wait," with sweet harmonies and a delicate temperament is also wide open to interpretation; "Change Your Mind," a reflection on a relationship going south, is on the other hand easy to figure. Unlike most bands that work in a progressive mode, A Doll's House songs are not long noodlings; everything here clocks in at under four minutes and "Over Easy" is structured in such a way as to appeal to radio programmers. Petrunich plays acoustic guitar on the somewhat bucolic "Woodwork;" the song is not hippy-dippy but in ways it reminds of something that Donovan might have written. "Steps to Summer" sounds like an Oasis groove with a bit of country mixed in while "Witch's Tree" is another cut where the meaning is unclear. But with its upbeat bounce and a killer chorus (and a brief, scorching solo from Petrunich) the song is perhaps the best cut on the album. Solid all the way through, Annum is meant to be listened to as a whole and many fans will delight at the magical realm that it takes them to.


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