BY JENNIFER KELLY
Connections, out of Columbus, makes a scrappy, fuzzy, irresistibly tuneful racket that will remind you of other Ohio bands, specifically Guided by Voices and Times New Viking (with whom they share a drummer in Adam Elliot). These are short, sweet, distortion-crusted pop songs, which, even crusted with rust and diesel stains, have a distinctly fresh-faced, optimistic sound.
The references for Connections are necessarily lo-fi, but while these songs aren’t fussed over, they are not sloppy in any sense. All five members of Connections play with a tightly focused exuberance, like they’ve been playing together forever (and indeed, founders Andy Hampel and Kevin Elliot have been playing together since the 1990s, first with 84 Nash and now with Connections). There’s a slacker drawl in songs like “Apt. by the Interstate,” but that’s a front; everyone is hitting their marks and making their notes.
Maybe the best song, the one that matches raffish heart and racket to glorious melody the most effortlessly, is “Beat the Sky,” an ear-worm-y tune that exudes the sincerest joy. It’s always hard to quantify why great rock songs kill, but let’s just put it this way: A rock song hasn’t made me this happy since the Soft Pack’s “Pull Out,” or maybe the Replacement’s “Can’t Hardly Wait.” But really, the whole album is a pleasure. If you haven’t given up on guitar rock yet, if you still feel the hairs on your neck lifting at a roughshod, hard-strummed melody, then you need to check out Into Sixes.
DOWNLOAD: “Beat the Sky”