Looking at Extended Play’s cover, I think I may have expressed some consternation. The sight of the guitarist and bassist caught in a midair leap and the drummer in the throes of thrashing at his drumkit, hair all askew and faces set in perfect punk angst, well… I didn’t expect much. I was expecting something along the lines of pop-punk, a genre whose adherents seem inordinately fond of such stage histrionics. Of course, I’ve been wrong before.
First of all, The Connection is decidedly not pop-punk, or anything close for that matter. The immediate comparison is something along the lines of The Shining Hour or Garlands, with maybe a hint of Sugar (due mainly, I suppose, to Bill McElnea’s vocals). Musically, it’s power-pop all the way; simple verses that launch into a hummable chorus, the guitars set to jangle as much as possible, and the basslines kept smooth and clean.
As soon as “Illusive/Delusional” kicked in, with its punchy drums and clean guitar melodies, I knew I was safe. Even when the distortion kicked in, it was still kept nice and melodic. The only main complaint is that the production feels lacking throughout the disc. You don’t pick up on it right away, but after 2 or 3 listens, it becomes evident. Nearly everything sounds too thin and tinny (with the possible exception of the vocals… sometimes). This is especially true on “Past The Break,” where the vocal harmonies sound nice but don’t fill out the song as much as they could (or should).
But even though the disc might lack in the production department, that didn’t prevent me from listening to it 3 times in a row after popping it into the stereo. These are solid songs, songs that could definitely benefit from a little more depth in the studio, if only to polish the edges.