Trouble in Mind welcomes Columbus, Ohio indie rock quintet Connections (former members of 84 Nash) with their fifth record Foreign Affairs. The album is decidedly pleasanter and more interesting than the sequence of words “Connections - Foreign Affairs” might suggest. Right down to the mucky late 1980s-style cover art, it’s a charming, lo-fi DIY affair.
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The fact that Connections feature people who were once in a band famed for being the only non Guided By Voices band signed to Robert Pollard's label Rockathon should give you an idea where they are coming from. They play a similarly ragged style of near pop glory that sounds like the band are playing really good songs blindfolded. 'Cynthia Paine' is like the Mountain Goats being simplified and told to get everything they want to say done in three minutes (stretchy vocals 'n' all).
Yet other bits are terrible. And it doesn't help that the track list on the album doesn't match the counter on the CD player. The track I think is "Low, Low, Low, Low' is inaudible (and terrible) and 'Good Cop' is completely non eventful. So far then, so GBV. Let's keep skipping that button and good stuff does emerge such as the fireside singalong of - oh I don't know I'm completely lost now with this track list. Then there's what I think is 'Dream Away' a lolloping blast of garage pop fun on with fine sinewy guitar lines and croaky singalong choruses.
Mostly it's new wave style skinny tie pop like Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson but played shambolically and infused with twenty years of indie rock slackerism. They are like the charming support band that often seem to be utterly hopeless but then break something out quite brilliant. I'm genuinely confused.
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- Foreign Affairs by Connections
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