A very significant change of pace from our last entry, though an LP released at relatively the same time. It’s The Connells’ Fun & Games.
I can remember one of the first times I heard something from the album. And it came in a most unexpected place. I was working at my first job, in a small newspaper in rural Indiana. Back in the press room, Something to Say was coming off the tiny boom box, and I asked who the hell was playing “that?” It seems one of the layout staff was a fan of modern/alternative/indie. I quickly made a tape of her tape, and a Top 50 entry album was found.
The Raleigh, N.C., band put out eight studio albums over the course of 16 years, many of them near-equals with Fun & Games. The run from Boylan Heights in 1987 through Ring in 1993 was about as good a stretch of jangle rock recorded this side of Athens.
Frankly, it always surprised me that Ring didn’t deliver the band a much larger audience, given it was released as radio stations were seeking out modern rock tracks following the rise of Nirvana and the glorious, long overdue demise of hair metal. Perhaps if Fun & Games had enjoyed such timing, it could have brought the band the wider acclaim they truly warranted.
Highlights here are opening song Something to Say, the guitar work grabbing the ear from the very first note; the title track, which begins whispery before breaking into classic jangle; and the uptempo Upside Down.
Name: The Connells, Fun & Games
Record Company: TVT
Running Time: 45:20
- Something to Say
- Fun & Games
- Upside Down
- Fine Tuning*
- Hey Wow
- Ten Pins
- Inside My Head
- Sat Night (USA)
- Lay Me Down
*CD-only track, so not on my original version.