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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