Since 2013, Columbus, Ohio's Connections have made four near-perfect albums of lo-fi pop majesty for the seminal Midwest label Anyway Records, and Foreign Affairs - their latest album (and first for Trouble In Mind), continues that winning streak with fifteen songs packed with sardonic tunefulness and Buckeye bombast, firmly planting them in the canon of the Ohio Sound.
Connections sprung forth from the ashes of Nineties pop band 84 Nash, infamous for being the only non-GBV related band released on Robert Pollard's own Rockathon Records and comparisons to the Indie Rock underdogs seem inevitable, if not a little shortsighted. Connections' brand of indie rock definitely has one foot in The Nineties but maintains a classicist's penchant for nuanced & timeless rock'n'roll. Many songs use classic pop structures (see "Love Me Still"s quiet/loud/quiet power ballad-isms) but subvert them with a clever melodic twist, a bonkers twin-guitar solo or unexpected synth squiggle underneath. These guys have done their homework, but nothing feels studied - they've drunk from the waters of the Ohio Underground and the tunes flow forth naturally, with nods to their Nineties brethren (GBV, Breeders, Gaunt) as well as idiosyncratic Midwest legends like Mike Rep and The Quotas or Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments. For every obvious, life-affirming hit on Foreign Affairs (the bouncy "Good Cop" or bombastic "Low Low Low") there are equal numbers of stealthy earworms like the chiming "Short Line" (with it's humming anti-chorus), or the yearning, organ-drenched "Downtown" to name a few. The sixteen songs ooze familiarity and an instant lyrical relatability, with the band's lyrics reveling in the everyday's little details; good friends, love and rock 'n' roll with restlessness and desire in a harsh, unforgiving but still beautiful world.
Foreign Affairs is released on CD, black vinyl, & will be available for download and streaming via all digital retailers.
RIYL: Sebadoh, Guided By Voices, The Men, The Clean, Mike Krol, The Replacements, The Stevens, Chook Race