Hard times may be in fashion but quirky spiky indie isn’t doing too bad for itself either. On this, their fourth release, Koufax harness the sort of new-wave pop prowess that has driven Hot Hot Heat and The Killers to the big time. They have the American accents, the skinny-legged style and even some talent; they can do smirking balladry and dancefloor rock with equal aplomb. There’s a piano in there too, but this is no Keane type thing, the tinkling actually adds a different accent to the usual lip-pouting hip-shaking mixture.
The ivories aren’t the only thing marking Koufax out from the pack either. The way ‘Five Years Of Madness’ puts the pedal to the metal will turn heads, the haunting, queasy drama of ‘Stephen James’ will turn them back again and is that a country twang hidden under lead single ‘Isabelle’. That there’s some meaty social and political comment bubbling away (and occasionally boiling over on ‘Blind Faith’) under such charming dark pop only makes it better. However while there’s familiar comfort in the Bloc Party bop of ‘Her Laughter’ or the Strokes style slacker banter of ‘Get Us Sober’ the songs here rarely take on a life of their own. And so it goes that after all that good stuff, there’s nothing to seal the deal.
Koufax probably throw some killer parties and god knows ‘Hard Times…’ would make decent background music to the next shindig at yours, but, with a noticeable lack of hit single material, the band need still more time to crack superstardom. It will come though, it will.
Also appears at Rock Midgets.
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