Connections: Cool Change [Album Review]

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Cool Change
Trouble In Mind Records [2023]

Connections have established a strong position on the indie music scene since 2013 with five full lengths and a handful of 7″s released over the span of six years. Now, five years has passed since their last release, Foreign Affairs (2018), and the band has made a glorious rock return with Cool Change; their second LP for Chicago label Trouble In Mind Records and sixth full length overall.

If you have been a Connections fan, Cool Change should be an instant pick up as the band has returned in perfect form. Song after song, the group once again showcases their knack for DIY gritty power pop tracks. What you will hear it that all the pieces of the band are a bit sharper this time out. Each instrument stands on its own along with Kevin Elliott’s vocals being more clear. This small tweak on the production end works well for Connections as several tracks may be some of their most memorable to date. “In Space” opens the album and its over 5 minute runtime is the longest song the band has recorded to date. What I like about the track is that the song has a great hook, it has a little added harmony and then it has plenty of room near its conclusion to let the rock distortion loose. It represents everything good about Connections.

Elsewhere, the band continues to grow their songwriting on a song like “Lorraine,” that has a catchy mid-tempo riff beat and Elliott passionately pleading out Lorraine’s name in the chorus that brings the listener along for hard times. “Bird Has Flown” is another foot tapper with more strain as Elliott sings “I’m alone, I can’t breathe, I can’t call you – bird has flown” complete with a short call and response and synths at the end making it one of the more unique tracks in the groups catalog.

Cool Change is a solid indie rock record from Connections. Each song has a high replay value and easily gets locked in your head after several spins. At this point in Connections career, Cool Change is the perfect celebration of their decade as a band. The group is musically tighter now and takes controlled risks throughout the album that keeps their sound fresh and makes Cool Change a great rocking 35 minutes of your time!

“In Space” / “Lorraine” / “Bird Has Flown”

The Replacements / Motel Beds / Guided By Voices

Foreign Affairs (2018) / Midnight Run (2016) / 5 Imaginary Boys (2014) / Into Sixes (2014) / Body Language (2013) / Private Airplane (2013)

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Christopher Anthony
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