Since 2013, Columbus, OH's Connections have made four near-perfect albums of lo-fi pop majesty for the seminal Midwest label Anyway Records, and Foreign Affairs continues that winning streak with 16 songs packed with sardonic tunefulness and Buckeye bombast. Connections sprung forth from '90s pop band 84 Nash, infamous for being the only non-GBV related band released on Robert Pollard's own Rockathon Records and comparisons to the indie rock underdogs seem inevitable, if not a little shortsighted.
Connections' brand of indie rock definitely has one foot in the '90s but maintains a classicist's penchant for nuanced and timeless rock 'n' roll. These guys have done their homework, but nothing feels studied - they've drunk from the waters of the Ohio underground and the tunes flow forth naturally, with nods to their '90s brethren as well as idiosyncratic Midwest legends.
For every obvious, life-affirming hit on Foreign Affairs ("Good Cop", "Low Low Low") there are equal numbers of stealthy earworms like the chiming "Short Line," or the yearning, organ-drenched "Downtown." The songs ooze familiarity and an instant lyrical relatability, with singer Kevin Elliot's lyrics reveling in the everyday's little details; good friends, love and rock 'n' roll with restlessness and desire in a harsh, unforgiving but still beautiful world.