Annalise - Here's to Hope (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Here's to Hope (2005)

No Idea

With every new album that they release, I'm becoming more and more convinced that No Idea Records is the only good thing that Florida has ever given the rest of the country. It doesn't make up for the 2000 Election or the Florida State Seminoles, but at least somebody's trying.

Straight from the UK, Annalise drop 10 tracks of rousing punk rock on the unsuspecting world. Sounding an awful lot like MxPx singer Mike Herrera, if he were British and had a slightly deeper voice, Annalise's singer keeps his vocal patterns at a relatively simplistic but earnest level, letting the rest of the band really toss around some different ideas and musical variations. It's still just a punk rock record at heart, but there's some subtle additions that put it just that small cut above the rest.

The first is an absolutely terrific rhythm section. Guitar, bass, and drums all have a raw, underproduced sound that works out beautifully for the five-piece. The chords are fresh and so full of life and energy that you can't help but smile. "A Summer Car and a Winter Car" is one of the album's more upbeat moments, and the track is short, and to the point. Annalise have no time to waste with extravagance; everything is crisp and direct. And if it's not the infectious instrumentation that will pull you in, the repeated choruses of "whoa oh"s will definitely seal the deal. That goes back to the vocals really just being strong as a whole. Those hints of Mike Herrera definitely stay with the album throughout, but it does more good than anything else for the songs. The vocals are a strong and present voice no matter what, and that's something a record like this could truly not do without. It needs that backbone, that certain something that will stand tall when other elements fall flat.

Luckily for the band however, that never even really becomes an issue. It's clear after the first track, "The Undisputed King of England," that they have no problems in terms of cohesion. The buzzsaw guitars and tight drumming leave little to the imagination while the sing-along chorus take things to that next level. Every song continues in that same vein, but injecting a level of originality that keeps the tracks from growing stale.

A terrific fit on the No Idea Roster, one that should be extremely successful whether or not they carry that trademark Gainseville sound.