Live Review


It's pouring rain in Santa Ana as I write this, which means it's most likely snowing in Big Bear—and this, in turn, means great news for you and me. In fact, if were it up to me, it'd snow in Big Bear every single day for the next five years, if only so Ann Lynn's Pool brothers—Josh and Matt, singer/guitarist and drummer, respectively—would have no choice but to hole themselves inside a cabin and keep writing the types of songs that are typically found only in the basements and garages of Pacific Northwest bookworm bands. But that's purely selfish and, thankfully, not the case: after all, this is Southern California we're talking about, not Oregon or Washington, so our snowstorms dilute rather easily into rainstorms, affording Josh and Matt the luxury of ditching their small-town solitude once or twice a week—a week!—to join band mates Tim Stafford and Steve Dunlap for shows in the Big City—or, well, Costa Mesa. Specifically: a Thursday night at Detroit Bar, with Ann Lynn playing middles on a bill between LA's honest-to-god stellar sad-pop sextet the Minor Canon and last-minute fill-ins/Pixies-in-a-can/twin construction dudes by day, rockstar duo by night Hell at Night. It was all so dreamy (and dreary) that for a night Detroit became Seattle: on songs such as "Coward's All the Rage," Ann Lynn proved Death Cab for the Wilco set, delivering infectious-if-not-very-threatening melodies bolstered by Josh's gotta-get-out-of-this-place lyrics and the band's Barsuk-or-Bust! precision. And yes, at times, Ann Lynn were a half-step away from being labeled too whitewashed or derivative, but fortunately it was a big half-step—you can write off a band for listening to Transatlanticism too much, but you can't write off the thruth: wedding rings on every young band member's left hand; references to late nights with a Bible and a pack of cigarettes; whispered memories of the snow falling outside the window. Turns out small towns and freezing temperatures will always make boys pick up acoustic guitars and start confessing secrets; we just forget sometimes we've got one or two of those towns—and a handful of those boys—close by.


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