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Glurp Records
1) Sky Begins To Storm
2) Change Of Living
3) Jesus Came Too Late
4) St. Graves
5) West Virginia
6) Lonesome Road
7) Before It Fades
8) Through The Night
9) Girl With The Golden Hair
10) The Circle Will Not Be Broken
Buy This Album
Band Website
        The Anniversary was a unique band with its own cult following, and I'm somewhat ashamed to admit I wasn't one of them. Don't get me wrong, I am in no way Anti-Anniversary... I've enjoyed the stuff they put out and I throw "Death Of The King" onto every album I write. But the band never fully clicked with me and seeing them play with the Velvet Teen didn't help me appreciate them. It didn't help that they were all drunk.
         Reading this review, you most likely know already that The Only Children is a band composed of all the members of the Anniversary who still like each other. And despite what indie blasphemy I've said about the Anniversary,
Change of Living is a good album. A damn good album, even. There are a few new branches of sound the band seems to be playing with, but the innovative vocal stylings, piano, and chill vibe are all there.
         Yeah, there is a very grassy feel to it that screams "country," but before you let that turn you off, remember: you like Bob Dylan. This country sound is thrown at you in the first track, "Sky Begins to Storm," which contains the classic vague-yet-morbid lyrics backed by powerfully flowing instruments.
         "Change of Living" is a more indie sound that fits better next to your other CDs if your main bag was the Anniversary. "Jesus Came Too Late," proving that controversially titled songs with religion-related lyrics can be fun, too, spins magic as it gently orchestrates acoustic and slide guitar underneath the dual guy/gal vocals.
         "St. Graves" is very Dylan. Does anyone else compare this entire album to Bob Dylan's country days or am I totally alone on this? By this song, you've stopped listening to this album as "songs by that new band the people from the Anniversary started" and it's simply become a new CD you're enjoying listening to. The song, like the songs before it, go down slow, and a lot of the angst we saw in some of the Anniversary's albums is definitely gone. The lyrics aren't necessarily happy, but the sound paints a much more peaceful, tranquil setting.
         "West Virginia" takes somewhere a bit different. The drumwork is certainly unique, and boy do we love jungle beats set to acoustic and slide guitar. It makes me feel like I'm on a farm in the congo. Please don't make me expand on that analogy. The lyrics could very well have been written by Johnny Cash, but the peppy instruments remain true to the Only Children's style, with a bit more of an electric sound than previous tracks. It smoothens out with about a minute and a half left, only to step it up a bit to lead you out of the song soothed but filled with a relaxed energy.
         "Lonesome Road" is another track with an almost sleepy feel with classical Italian guitar stylings under gentle oldschool country shared vocals. "Before It Fades" is a bit cheerier in its sound. By this track, if you hate the blues/country sound, you've thrown the CD away. I myself haven't stopped enjoying a single moment of it. When the vocals soften, you're definitely reminded of the Anniversary... but really, it's best not to think of the Only Children's previous musical endeavors when you're listening to this album. It stands by itself, a renaissance of unique stylings. The guitar sound on "Through The Night" is rather exceptional, and and the female vocals are absolutely gorgeous. Now here's a track to fall asleep to. The song is altogether uneventful, but in a very comfortable way.
         "Girl With Golden Hair" is a smokey ballad with one of my favorite drum beats in the album so far that's backed well by the steady basslines. "The Circle Will Not Be Broken" is another smooth song... but unfortunately you have to discover at this point that the album isn't going anywhere new. The Anniversary had the ability to show a lot of unique sounds on a single album, but the Only Children are pretty consistent in what they sound like. What they sound like is good... but it's pretty much everything. "The Circle..." is a great song, and I love the vocals, but all the songs do start to blend together. All the same, "The Circle" does have have one of the catchiest choruses so far on the album. That makes it a great ending track, though it does stop rather suddenly without any gigantic finish.
         So should you buy the album if you liked the Anniversary? Definitely, though don't expect it to be The Anniversary Part II. Should you buy the album if you never really listened to the Anniversary? Definitely, but don't be too surprised if you find yourself liking a style that seems like it should be a bit more out of your tastes. The album is well-developed--a good display of what a lot of experience in music can produce. My hats off to the Only Children, and I can't wait to see how else this sound will evolve.
R.S. '04