The Connells are an American band from Raleigh, North Carolina. They play a guitar-oriented, melodic, jangle pop style of rock music with introspective lyrics that reflect the American South. Though mostly dormant, the band continues to play to this day. The band is best known for their song “’74–’75”, which was successful across Europe, topping the charts in Sweden and Norway and becoming a UK Top 20 hit in 1995.
Ring is the fifth studio album by the American alternative rock band The Connells, released in 1993.
The album (and band)’s biggest hit was the single “’74–’75,” which also appeared on the soundtrack of the 1995 film Heavy. In the UK, the album reached #36 on the UK Albums Chart while “’74-’75” peaked at #14 on the UK Singles Chart. In the US, the album reached #199 on the Billboard 200 with the single “Slackjawed” reaching #9 on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart.
“The record contains some brilliant pieces of pop songcraft (‘Carry My Picture,’ ‘Eyes on the Ground’) and some bittersweet lyrical ruminations, but slower numbers like ‘’74-’75’ are so sweet they border on cloying.” (Trouser Press)
After scoring a college radio hit with “Stone Cold Yesterday” from 1990’s One Simple Word, the Connells followed up with their strongest effort to date, the radio-ready Ring. While muddy production and underdeveloped songs occasionally plagued their earlier releases, Ring is an album aimed squarely at the mainstream, and is a clear attempt to pick up on fans of R.E.M., alt-country like Uncle Tupelo, and rootsy power pop like Marshall Crenshaw. The album’s first single, a lilting and seemingly unassuming acoustic ballad entitled “’74-’75” became an unexpected smash hit in Europe, topping the pop charts in many countries across the continent. The song was equally indebted to acoustic-based roots rock as it was to Celtic music (as witnessed in the ornate backing vocals) and was one of the band’s most successful concoctions.
Subsequent singles, such as the poppy “Slackjawed” and the nostalgic “New Boy” (which sounds like it was written as musical accompaniment to a James Thurber story) each managed to garner some alternative radio attention as well. The album tracks were equally as strong, especially the tense “Carry My Picture,” a stark portrait of a vindictive relationship. Ring established the Connells as the forerunners in the group of jangle pop bands that had previously lived largely in the shadow of R.E.M. and helped the band become a moderate commercial success. While time has not been kind to the band or this album, the Connells clearly held some influence. In 2000, Fran Healy of the British guitar pop band Travis admitted that his band’s 1999 hit “Writing to Reach You” was written while listening to “’74-’75” on the radio, and was, in effect, a bit of a rip-off. The songs sound unmistakably similar, and it’s enough proof that the Connells deserve much more credit for their contributions to guitar-based pop than they have previously been given. (by Jason Damas)
In other words: A forgotten masterpiece !
David Connell (bass)
Mike Connell (guitar, vocals on 07. + 11., background vocals)
George Huntley (guitar, mandolin, vocals on 04., background vocals)
Doug MacMillan (vocals, guitar)
Steve Potak (keyboards)
Peele Wimberley (drums, percussion)
Tim Harper (keyboards, background vocals)
Caro Giordano (cello)
01. Slackjawed (M.Connell) 4.00
02. Carry My Picture (M.Connell) 3.58
03. ’74–’75 (M.Connell) 4.39
04. Doin’ You (Huntley) 3.33
05. Find Out (MacMillan) 3.31
06. Eyes On The Ground (MacMillan) 3.03
07. Spiral (M.Connell) 3.07
08. Hey You (D.Connell/M.Connell/MacMillan) 3.23
09. New Boy (M.Connell) 4.39
10. Disappointed (M.Connell) 5.04
11. Burden (M.Connell) 4.00
12. Any Day Now (MacMillan) 2.39
13. Running Mary (M.Connell) 4.36
European bonus tracks:
14. Logan Street (M.Connell) 3.39
15. Wonder Why (M.Connell) 3.14
16. Living In The Past (Anderson) 2.43