Modern U.S. life sure is rubbish, asserts Koufax singer Robert Suchan on his Kansas-based quintet's third album: We've got a cheater for a president ("Back and Forth") conning the nation through a war ("Blind Faith"), but ignorance reigns supreme because the education system is a joke ("Why Bother At All") and everyone's too occupied with getting famous ("Isabelle"), drunk ("Get Us Sober"), or out of bad relationships ("Five Years of Madness") to wise up. So the world hates us, and the only thing Americans in the know can do is claim they're really from another country ("Colour Us Canadian"). Quick, someone call CNN. Well, if Suchan's lyrical insights occasionally come off as trite, clumsy or didactic, at least they're proffered with a graceful, sometimes even rousing indie-pop delivery system. Jared Rosenberg's piano melodies -- a little Broadway here, a little barroom boogie there -- usually lead the way, pushed onward by the adept, urgent rhythm section of Rob and Ryan Pope (founders of late emo heroes The Get-Up Kids) and enhanced by the odd guitar slash or jangle. There's plenty of New Wave texture and drama weaved into Koufax's arrangements, and Suchan's approximately the 946th singer this decade to borrow Robert Smith's larynx, but, y'know, hard times aren't the only things in fashion these days.

Koufax, Limbeck, Peachcake, and Hiller are scheduled to perform on Monday, August 15, at Modified Arts.


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