The Connells, a North Carolina band that originated in 1984, didn’t achieve overwhelming success in the United States. Their primary fanbase came from Europe following the release of their hit single, “‘74-’75”, off their fifth studio album, “Ring” (History of the Connells).
The band is made up of Mike Ayers (guitar), David Connell (bass), brother Mike Connell (guitar and vocals), Robb Ladd (drums), Doug MacMillan (vocals) and Steve Potak (keys).
The Connells’ sound is a great blend of pop-y rock, cheesy lyrics, fun melodies and good vibes. In their album, “Ring”, released in 1993 under TVT Records, this album was their breakout album with songs like “‘74-’75” and “Slackjawed”.
Let’s get into a few of the tracks on this album. First up, “Slackjawed”, it opens the whole album with Mike Connells’ vocals and a slow, cheer-y guitar melody. The vocals are reminiscent of someone longing for a better experience in love. There’s a lot of yearning in the guitar riffs too, which adds to the catchy nature of this track. It’s a simple love ballad but The Connells do a good job of crafting a distinct sound with their vocals and lyrics.
“Doin’ You” is another of my favorites from this album. George Huntley, a guest on this album, is on the vocals for this track. It has some funky lyrics and more over-the-top cliches like “doin’ you is like doin’ time” but it’s really attractive and fun to admire.
Next up in my list of favorites is “New Boy”, which I think is the most unique lyrically on the whole album. This is another Mike Connell vocal track, so his soft voice carries us through emotions like regret and confusion. The two feelings meddle and mix with each other, creating a weird submission to invisible guilts.
NC Is Home:
The Connells started releasing more music recently in the past couple years after a long hiatus with their newest album “Steadman’s Wake”. I have yet to experience this album, but after my dive into the sounds that made The Connells who they are today, I will be checking it out very soon.
It’s great to see bands that started in this state, continue making music their way without giving into ideals that are already prevalent everywhere. The Connells could have made their music conform to usual pop-rock ideals of the 80’s and 90’s, but they kept to their sound and found their audiences through brute force and great perseverance.