by Joshua Hoey (@reflectiveDIY)
Ohio's Connections have been cranking out high-quality lo-fi rock for the past few years without making a big deal about it. That's set to change with this, their first album for Trouble In Mind, and upcoming tour dates with Kurt Vile. The good news is, their sound and knack for penning deceptively simple, yet consistently great, songs doesn't appear to have changed.
Often compared to Guided By Voices, and championed by Robert Pollard and company, their sound actually has a much more pronounced garage/power-pop sensibility, maybe more akin to Tobin Sprout's solo work. Lead single "Low Low Low" starts with a classic palm-muted verse before expanding into a huge, jangly chorus complete with tasty organ. The calmly sardonic lead vocals recall Bloomington's underrated Purple 7, and their "basement pop" forerunners Landlord.
While their first four full-lengths (in just over four years, they've got the GBV rapid-fire release thing down) might occasionally feel a bit samey the whole way through, Foreign Affairs reveals a band unafraid to throw in a few curveballs. The slow-burning "Misunderstanding" features a couple of extended guitar solos to spice up the restrained-verse/huge-chorus formula. "Very Nice, Very Slow" strips away the rhythm section, which serves to highlight the guitar interplay.
However they choose to accessorize these tunes, at the core of each resides a nugget of pure pop bliss. Any group possessed of this level of songwriting chops is primed for a long and wonderful run of great albums.