The Connection “Labor Of Love”
The Connection are back and better than ever. Actually, Geoff Palmer and Brad Marino are remarkably consistent with the hit sound that powered their last LP Let It Rock. Once again we get fast tempos, hook-filled melodies and Rickenbacker guitars starting with the title track that pays tribute to Nick Lowe, Dave Edmunds and the spirit of pub rockers everywhere.
The band has a knack for taking a classic ’60s mod rock sound and updating it for modern listeners. There is not much else to say other than there are plenty of highlights: “So Easy” and “Pathetic Kind of Man” are catchy hit singles, The Rolling Stones sounds like an stronger influence on “Circles” and “You Ain’t Special.” There even is a bit of honky tonk twang on “Let The Jukebox Take Me” and take-no-prisoners punk pop on “Red, White & Blue.”
No filler to be found here, and kudos from both Little Steven Van Zandt and former Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham make this another easy addition to your potential top ten for 2015. Long live The Connection!
The Wellgreen “Summer Rain”
The Wellgreen are a wonderful Glasglow band that have a piano based sound very similar to The Left Banke. Their last album release Grin and Bear It was put out by another label, and this album has a few repeated songs from earlier releases, but for this review I’m sticking with the digital release Summer Rain. Maybe this is a Wellgreen greatest hits?
I’ll put up with a little confusion because this is simply great pop. “Summer Rain” is a very ’60s styled single, but the building melody of “Maybe It’s The Pressure Of The City Life That’s Tearing Us Apart” is truly great with impeccable harmonies. “Jennifer” once again dazzles with its yearning melody. “Sunday” and “Remember” are Beatles styled songs that will charm you for sure. “Grin and Bear It” has a Beach Boys party atmosphere, and a “Impossible Love” has a James Taylor vibe. While not everything hits the mark, enough does to make it a highly recommended album.