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Connections came out of Columbus, Ohio, at a rush, releasing two stellar LPs and several singles in their first year. They felt like the wind rushing through the open window of a car hurtling down the highway at 90 MPH. In the second year, they firmed up their sound and shook off some of the bedroom-lo-fi-Oh (as in Oh-hi-O) for the almost radio-friendly Into Sixes, which earned the band continued praise in Pitchfork, AVClub, Stereogum and more. And like the previous two records, Into Sixes wound up on a plethora of “Best Of” lists (Village Voice, Still Single, etc.) as well as on the pages of ESPN. They took a year off to record a single for Chicago’s tasty HoZac label and a play handful of shows including several sold-out NYC dates.
Midnight Run kicks the murk of basement four-track recordings from the soles of the five members’ collective shoes with the sound of two guitars that growl as if they are echoing out of the propellers of a B-12 bomber. After the gentle hiss for the opener “Raise Awareness,” which echoes the early power pop of the Shoes or Cars played through a 1987 Mustang’s tape-deck, “Month to Month” shatters the windshield as singers Kevin Elliott and Andy Hampel stand atop the chorus like they just conquered a Two-for-Tuesday slot on your local classic rock station. From there, the record rolls over the speakers with a great band getting greater, flexing sinewy guitar with Hampel’s and Elliott’s majestic melodies. From the continued sing-alongs of “Kate and Everyone Else” and “Chorus Got Laid” to the nervy-clappy twist of “Lisa” (chorus: “Lisa, you’re so Lisa”), Midnight Run finds Connections matching a sound as big as their propensity for melodies.