The Connells – Ring

What I Think of When I Think of This Artist

I think I used to like this album a lot more. I still enjoy it, but not with the same intensity. Again, the Connells are fine but don’t mean that much to me. They certainly did not seem to have distinctive personalities, which is not anything I require from the bands, but it does push them further into the background of my memories. They released a few more albums after this. George Huntley is now a realtor.

What I Think of This Album

The Connells swapped their jangle for a tougher sound, aided by producer Lou Giordano (Sugar, the Bats). The trade-off paid dividends in the short run, but for unknown reasons, not over the long haul.

“‘74-’75” was an unexpected hit in Europe and “Slackjawed” was fairly popular here. But even though they ended up with a sound not too far removed from acts like the Gin Blossoms or late-period Goo Goo Dolls (also a Giordano-produced band), the Connells weren’t able to capitalize. If anything, I’d say they lost audience share afterwards. Do I feel for the band? Not really. Shit happens. Life is unfair. Either way, I still get to enjoy this, the best Connells album.

“Slackjawed” is a monster power-pop track, with a great overdriven guitar lead and rich backing harmonies. “‘74-’75” is a superb, Celtic-influenced ballad, with moaning strings and some fairly silly vocalizations. “Carry My Picture” and “Hey You” are really good power-pop songs – with “Eyes On the Ground” only a notch lower – again benefitting from a more muscular guitar sound and skilled production.

“Spiral” is a quality ballad, relying on Mike Connell’s penchant for Celtic melodies. And mid-tempo “New Boy” ends with a very strong final “Didn’t I . . .” refrain and a nice lead part. “Running Mary” is a well-constructed and nicely arranged mood piece.

The mean-spirited “Doin’ You” is guitarist George Huntley’s contribution, on which he also sings lead; it’s a bit more meat-and-potatoes than the other tracks, and the organ from new member Steve Potak is a bit overdone. “Find Out” is a decent slower number, but nothing special, which is how I also feel about “Disappointed.” “Burden” is also sort of middling. “Any Day Now” is likewise tolerable.

Cara Giordano, presumptive relation of producer Lou, plays the cello on unspecified tracks (though definitely “Spiral”).

The Best Thing About This Album

“Slackjawed” by a whisker over “‘74-’75.”

Release Date

September, 1993

The Cover Art

The colors are very cool, and I like the image – the corona on the sun is nice. The font is terrible, though. Still, it’s befitting that the Connells paired their best cover art with their best album.

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