Annabel / Dowsing - Split [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Annabel / Dowsing

Split [7-inch] (2014)

Count Your Lucky Stars

I think I'm at that stage of life, approaching the thirties, where emo–tinged rock offers a great deal of reflection, introspection and thought–provoking needed to make that transition to another big era of life. There's something about the endearing vibe and warm sentimentality of these bands and yes, the "emo revival" on the whole, that just rings so perfectly to me and makes me, personally, feel alive. I hardly find an indie–emo band that I can't stomach. What's even more fantastic about this split is that both Annabel and Dowsing have been favorites of mine in the past, and it's an even better feeling to acknowledge how much they fail to disappoint. In just four tracks, it's a lot to take in but it's something special.

Annabel answer fans who've been waiting for the resounding finish to Each and Everyone. The other works were good but this was the record that I felt stuck to me the most. Well, rest assured that they're putting those ghosts to bed because "Always" signifies just why they hit the right spots. It's a guitar–intricate, atmospheric and breezy tune that has the melodic ring of Jimmy Eat World to it, as well as the new–age tones of Into.It.Over.It, The World is a Beautiful Place and most notably, The Hotelier. Much of their music swims at mid–tempo drives before swan–diving into a beautiful, angry crescendo. This track follows suit. Their sound usually comes off quiet and angry but when loud, their rhythm still feels so composed and touching. This makes the grating indie–punk barb "Forever" even more enthralling. Hard–hitting drums and a huge, chorus–driven punk M.O. throw you for a loop but it's unconventional moves like this which make for a more appreciable listen.

Then comes Dowsing –– a tad more stripped down and lighthearted, as seen with last year's I Don't Even Care Anymore. They remind me so much of Dikembe and it's no surprise why. With a light, alternative sound, they really gloss over the indie–pop genre nicely but with a more polished sound. "Fistful of Hot Wheels" picks up right where their 2013 release left off, singing about unsettled loneliness and the retreats of a recluse. However, their sound feels more complete and better produced. They maintain a twinkly aura but feel more focused and empowered. "World's Finest Chocolate" follows in the same vein but is incrementally faster, catchier and angsty.

Both bands are a great sample for the current crop of emo bands but more so, they're two of the stronger ones. Their fearlessness on life's themes, their audible and pleasant instrumentation and lastly, unabashed passion, draw out their messages so well. It's hard to ignore. A couple of full–lengths please–