The Connection – Labor Of Love (2015) [Bandcamp FLAC 24bit/44,1kHz]

The Connection – Labor Of Love (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44.1kHz | Time – 30:48 minutes | 378 MB | Genre: Garage Rock / Power Pop
Official Digital Download – Source: Bandcamp |  @ Rum Bar Records

They’ve been applauded by rock pioneer, visionary, and former Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham. They’re championed by “E Street” legend Little Steven Van Zandt and heard just about every day on the Underground Garage. Now The Connection on the roll again with their new album. – “Labor Of Love” is the soundtrack to the love child of Nick Lowe, Flamin’ Groovies, the Kinks, and Graham Parker stumbling through the Bowery with the swagger of Exile-era Rolling Stones; finishing off the night by passing out on the Ramones’ studio floor.

The band plays Power Pop with classic Garage Rock undertones, making them sound like, well, a garage rock version of The Undertones. But not just any strand of Garage Rock, The Connection are more akin to the straight, early Rock and Roll influenced side of the genre. To give you an idea, The Connection is a lot more clean cut and melodic like, say, Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders. They lack the grit and intensity of The Standells or The Sonics and they’re a thousand miles away from the overall weirdness of ? and the Mysterians. They’ve set their sights on clear cut pop hooks and riffs that lift from vintage Chuck Berry. This is a band who wear their influences on their sleeves.

Producer (and member of the Dictators) Andy Shernoff surrounds the band with a clean, smooth sound, with all the instruments ringing as clear as day. This was obviously the right move, as placing unwarranted fuzz or distortion over these songs would sound severely off putting. It’d be like seeing Richie Cunningham in The Fonz’s leather jacket. Other collaborators include ex-Screeching Weasel member Dan Vapid, who delivers backup vocals on “Don’t Come Back.” Though, to be honest, if you don’t know he’s there, his vocals are not remotely noticeable.

The band doesn’t mix things up too much, making it obvious that they belong to the school of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Most of the songs on this album feature uptempo, bouncy instrumentals and chipper vocals. “Let the Jukebox Take Me” and “Treat You So Bad” are the only tracks here that really break from the mold in any way. With a countrified ballad posture, the former track saunters along and absorbs some ragtime influenced piano stabs before it reaches it’s muddled end. “Treat You So Bad” is a New Wave influenced rocker no doubt taking a cue from Elvis Costello’s first couple of albums. Neither of these songs make much of an impact, however, as they mostly wallow in their influences and fail to catch your ear with a bland chorus.

Just as the album title says, this is clearly a labor of love and the band members are undoubtedly having fun playing the music. The album is bolstered by a handful of genuinely catchy tracks (“Circles” and “Pathetic Kind of Man” come to mind), but there is some filler to be found here. The 30 minute album is too short to become tiresome, but The Connection should have definitely put a little more labor into this labor of love anyway.

— Review by fretty, taken from

01. Labor Of Love
02. So Easy
03. Circles
04. You Ain’t Special
05. Pathetic Kind Of Man
06. Don’t Come Back
07. Let The Jukebox Take Me
08. Red, White & Blue
09. Treat You So Bad
10. Good Things

all songs by Marino/Palmer

Produced by Brad Marino & Geoffry Palmer. Executive Producer: Andy Shernoff
Recorded by Geoff Palmer at Friar Park East; Jacobs Dive Studio’s and Thundering Sky by G. Palmer, C. Magruder and B. Marino
• Brad Marino – lead & backing vocals, lead/rhythm/acoustic guitar, bass on “2,6,8,9,10”
• Geoff Palmer – lead/rhythm/slide/acoustic guitar, additional & backing vocals, bass on “1,3,5”

additional musicians:
– Rick Orcutt: drums on “1,4,5,6,8”
– Craig Sala: drums on “2,3,7,9,10”
– Kris “Fingers” Rodgers: keyboards
– Zach Uncles: pedal steel
– Andy Shernoff: bass on “4,7”
– Dan Vapid: guest backing vocals on “6”