Monday, November 12, 2012

Connections - Private Airplane LP (Anyway Records)

Connections Private Airplane is out now in Columbus, Ohio
I don't want to talk about the Ohio water, as in what's in it, as the raison d’ĂȘtre for another instant classic of underground pop to surface to vinyl with Connections’ Private Airplane. This allusion is justifiably thrown up in the hands of well-wishers at a loss for words, yet to say Ohioans are dosed from the tap with a certain knack is to slight what constitutes the substance. Other liquids are more conspicuously involved: blood, beer, whiskey and gasoline - although I wouldn't recommend that order. Songs like "Finally", "Casuals", "Cindy" and "Love St." don't just happen, albeit by the time we hear them it certainly seems like they do; spontaneously, with whatever working degree of immaculacy you uphold. The five members of Connections are not bystanders for a conduit; Kevin Elliott and Andy Hampel of 84 Nash, Adam Elliott of Times New Viking, Dave Capaldi of El Jesus de Magico and 'peach district laureate' Philip Kim have been clocking in for awhile now. Private Airplane is a result of their craft; fifteen paragons of song, each laden with hooks you can't pay for, never mind get, anywhere else.

It's in the blood. Originating with the 84 Nash representatives, a kernel of the songs on Private Airplane evolved over time, and the genetic make-up of this band is thankfully evident; which is to say, you will hear Guided By Voices, The Mice and 84 Nash's own micro-arena rock. If Connections was mounted on honing relics, it is safe to say the glacial pace has served its purpose. With the skilled naturalism of Capaldi's guitar, Kim on bass, and the drums and guiding hand of Elliott the younger, who truly shines as a producer (trust me, I know), Connections is experiencing a flash. Another album is rumored to be completed. You would be wise to get on board now.

Outstanding on Private Airplane is the tone. It's positive, and this is quite refreshing. Easy to be contentious and nihilist, both saturate a market where pop, not cool enough to stand alone, always suffers an avant-garde signifier. What is hard is to make something genuine and full-hearted without becoming a target. Connections achieves this, but it is not born of naivetĂ©. For if water is at work here at all, it is David Foster Wallace's water, one he addressed as ennui and the daily choice to wade through it, to which Ohioans are adept. Of equal habit to principle songwriter Andy Hampel, is the counterattack. With Connections, we are called to engage – join the formation to offset the void. It may be closer than you think.

Appropriately, a record label founded on the belief that music should be from your own backyard invested in the release. Anyway Records, from Columbus, Ohio, has been one purveyor of the 'timelessness' (est. late '80s - early '90s) found on Private Airplane; a certain melding of rock, skewed and blaring through speakers, not in the least from vehicles in any driving town. It doesn't take a song like "Totally Carpool" to recognize this album's ideal context: From Dayton to Columbus, Columbus to Cleveland, here to there, A to B. Connections. And that’s the gasoline. (The beer and whiskey are implied.

-Elizabeth Murphy