Released: September 1, 1993/Reissue: May 26, 2023
Producer: Lou Giordano | The Connells | Tim Harper
Length: 50:15/Reissue: 2:10:00
Released in 1993, The Connells’ album Ring remains a quintessential find of the indie rock scene, showcasing the band’s masterful songwriting and distinctive sound. With its melodic hooks and introspective themes, Ring captures a snapshot of the early ’90s indie music landscape while also carving out its own unique place within it.
From the very first chords of the album’s opening track, “Slackjawed,” it was clear that The Connells were in top form. The song’s jangly guitars and heartfelt vocals immediately set the tone for the entire record. One of the standout aspects of Ring is the way in which the band’s harmonies and vocal arrangements contribute to the album’s overall impact. The interplay between the lead vocals and harmonies creates a sense of unity, drawing the listener in and building a strong connection between the music and the emotions it conveys. This connection grows even stronger when you explore the new 30th-anniversary deluxe edition’s full album set of demo tracks, which played a crucial role in molding the record into its final product. The more raw approach showcased in these uncovered songs highlights the strength of the songwriting.
Additionally, I really liked the four final acoustic numbers that beautifully round out the 30th-anniversary edition. Particularly notable is “Running Mary”; while it has always been a fitting closer for Ring, this acoustic version adds a new dimension to the song, making it truly fantastic.
Ring remains a timeless piece of indie rock history, capturing a snapshot of a pivotal era in music while still sounding relevant and engaging to this day. With its heartfelt melodies, introspective lyrics, and masterful execution, Ring solidifies The Connells’ status as a band that made an indelible mark on the indie rock landscape of the ’90s and beyond.
“Slackjawed” / “’74–’75” / “New Boy”
Their are plenty of great tracks on this album outside of the singles and offers a variety of musical textures. The dreamy ballad atmosphere of “Spiral” is fantastic while the infectious rhythm and catchy chorus of “Carry My Picture” is memorable. To commemorate the album’s 30th anniversary, the album was remastered by Brent Lambert and released on vinyl for the first time, as well as an expanded, two-disc version on CD and in digital format, including rare B-sides and 12 previously-unreleased demo tracks which all provide great insight to the making of this album.
ARTISTS WITH SIMILAR FIRE
Buffalo Tom / R.E.M. / Tommy Keane
The album (and band)’s biggest hit was the single “’74–’75”, which reached the top ten in 11 European countries, peaking at No. 1 in Norway and Sweden, and appeared on the soundtrack of the 1995 film Heavy. In the UK, the album reached number 36 on the UK Albums Chart while “’74-’75” peaked at number 14 on the UK Singles Chart. In the US, the album reached number 199 on the Billboard 200 with the single “Slackjawed” reaching number nine on Billboard’s Alternative Songs chart.
WHAT ARE THE CONNELLS UP TO NOW?
In the years following Ring, The Connells released three more albums (1996’s Weird Food and Devastation, 1998’s Still Life, and 2001’s Old School Dropouts) before taking a hiatus from recording. In 2021, the band – which currently includes the Connell brothers, MacMillan and Potak, plus guitarist Mike Ayers and drummer Rob Ladd – returned with their first album in a decade, the acclaimed Steadman’s Wake. Earlier this year they released their tenth album, Set The Stage. It is the first official live record in the group’s 37 year history.
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