As they always used to say on the kids tv shows when I was a boy: here’s one we made earlier.

The other week we reviewed the debut EP by Brad Marino. After which Brad casually dropped into a twitter message: “I was a bit slow getting this to you, but we released an album in April….”

“We” in this case is The Connection. The New Hampshire natives first came on to my radar when Stevie Van Zandt simply said: “this band gets it…” He’s not wrong either.

I reviewed a covers album of theirs late in 2016, but this is all new stuff. And to my ears it sounds exactly how I romanticised America. This is the sound of Drive Thru’s and Diners, of proms of rock n roll and yeah, some third disc on “The River” where the aforementioned SVZ and Springsteen really let themselves go.

I mean, goodness me, how can you not love a record that contains this as a chorus: someone oughta tell her that loves not store-bought. Not on a shelf, not always in stock. Someone oughta tell her to keep the receipt, cos love never comes with a warranty”? You can’t. Let’s be honest. That’s “Mechanical Heart” and yes, it’s a highlight, but it isn’t the only one.

There are ten songs here. Each one is glorious in its own way.

Everyone surely knows that “You Know” boasts the opening riff of “Mama Kin”, right? Whatever, it’s a cracking way to start. “Checking” builds round an acoustic hook that makes you want to enjoy summer – as well as some cracking word play too.

“Color Me Impressed” one of the early singles (although to be fair, the whole of this sounds like it could – and indeed should – be a single) and is mellow – but that’s just the music. The lyrics tell a different story – and that’s The Connection’s story too. Of course, if you just want to enjoy the superb solo here and not think too deeply, then that’s fine

The title track is country tinged, up to a point. It is more Jason And The Scorchers than Garth Brooks, lets put it that way and the fabulous harmonica lick at the start of “The Girl Is Trouble” transports you instantly into the 1960s – and it belongs there.

“Looking Back At You” chugs with the spirit of The Stones in its back pocket, and “Heaven Or Hell” belongs on a Dan Baird And Homemade Sin record – or the bar. It’s not bothered.

Usually you’d say that music like this mastered the three-minute pop song, like Elvis Costello, say, at his best, but many of these don’t get to be that long. Instead, “What A Shame” achieves perfection in less than 150 seconds, while “In The End” is riotous, almost punk fun. And if someone suggested The Ramones I wouldn’t argue.

Wish You Success ends on a typically The Connection moment. “Thinking Out Loud” is another that could squeeze into the honky-tonk, but it’s apparent cheeriness belies a real sense of hopelessness in its words.

The thing is, The Connection can make this stuff look effortless. They are quite obviously naturals, and let’s all drink to their continued success, shall we?

Rating 8.5/10

More From Author


Popular Posts

Latest Gig Reviews

Latest Music Reviews


Band Of The Day