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Extended Play EP

The Connection
Extended Play EP
(Self Released)

Bands from NYC are pretty hot property right now. Although the eyes of the world have been on the city for unfortunate reasons after the terrorist attacks, they've also been lapping up young groups at a rather rapid pace, and many have talked of a resurrgence of the rawk as groups like The Strokes, The Liars, and Interpol seem to grace critics pages all over. The Connection is a trio from the city of a million bands, and unlike the above bands, they seem to be riding a slightly poppier edge (although I know many who would argue that so are a couple of the above artists).

At any rate, Extended Play is the logically-titled first EP from the group, and with 6 songs that clock in at just over 20 minutes, they don't sit in one place very long. Opening with "Illusive/Delusional," they propel into a tight little upbeat rock track. Sounding somewhat like a track by the now-defunct Smoking Popes, it mixes a bit of bop with its electric guitars, and lead singer Bill McElnea sings in sort of a croony baritone.

Following up with "Take It Away," the album takes an even lighter feel with mainly programmed drums and a simple but catchy jangly guitar/bass melody. The middle tracks on the album lose a bit of the jaunty feel that keeps the opening of the disc running so smoothly, and "Don't Belong" and "Cali" take on a more radio-friendly, alterna-rock feel, with much more emotive vocals (launching into falsetto sing-alongs) and pensive sound.

Fortunately, things get back on track with the excellent "Past The Break," and although McElnea still favors his emotive side over the more straightforward earlier style, the track works much better than the middle two in achieving a hummable sound without being overly sensitive. In the end, it's a pretty good little introductory release from a group who's obviously still honing their sound a bit. With a touch more production work and a slightly more defined sound, they could definitely perk up some more ears.

Rating: 6