This week’s review of the Midwestern troupe, Koufax’s Hard Times Are In Fashion is eerily ironic as they tell of today’s social state of Americana. The tale is not a pretty one, but is made captivating by frontman Robert Schunan, who seems to plead to be heard.
“The mess we’re in – I want to know how we got here?” sounds his voice of desperation on the opening track, “Why Bother At All?”
With a Pavement level of sensibility, a hint of the south on “Isabelle” via their eloquent slide guitar, and knack for hook-heavy, pop melody found with other artists like Brendan Benson, the fourth release for Koufax stands out in the crowd for 2005 releases.
The band really does have something so say, so it worth breaking out your magnifying glass to read the fine print. This week the media can no longer tow the White House company line, and the recent disaster makes the reality of our American’s cultural divide unavoidable.
Koufax already knew that, and without being intrusive to one’s beliefs, speak from the heart and mind, accompanied by catchy and sunny songs like “Colour Us Canadian,” all the while singing, “We don’t think very hard about where we come from / And how that in itself could do us so wrong. We don’t bother to learn anyone else’s language…This passport once was golden – guess that’s no longer true…It was a simple stare, and we knew not to feel flattered / When did it all go wrong? / I’d like to know / We’d call ourselves Canadian – anything but American.”
With every voice speaking the truth, we can only hope to one day be honestly and strongly proud of what our country and government stand for. Until that day, we have our music and artists that sing it like it is and help to release our current frustrations.