Someone in Koufax forgot his shades. Guess who.

Hard Times Are in Fashion was one of the great surprises of last summer. After honing its emo chops, Koufax shook things up with its third record -- an irresistibly hooky slab of dark, danceable rock. Like the Strokes forced to play Ben Folds and Psychedelic Furs covers, the feisty quintet mutates turn-of-the-millennium neo-garage, '90s goof rock and '80s new wave into a sexy, swaggering packet of pop rocks. While brothers Robert and Ryan Pope nail down hip-grinding grooves, guitarist Ben Force and keyboardist Jared Rosenberg add unexpected twists -- including lap steel and driving piano lines. Robert Suchan's disaffected vocals generously slather the cake with cool icing. Lyrically, the songs make the political personal, with a number of tracks bemoaning the shame of being an American in the Bush era. "Colour Us Canadian," the album's third single, tells the story of globe-trotting Americans masquerading as Canucks to avoid being ostracized and scorned. After a tour of eleven countries over the past nine months, expect Koufax to have plenty of fresh ugly-American stories to tell.

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