Koufax - Hard Times Are In Fashion

Mike Caulfield 26/08/2006

Rating: 3/5

Melding quirky piano driven saccharine California-pop, with earnest abandon the type of which you'd expect from Arcade Fire and other such groups of their ilk.

'Hard Times Are in Fashion' is the fourth album from the pop/indie five-piece. Front man Robert Suchan shares a similar operatic voice as Canadian Rufus Wainwright, whilst mixing it with the pretension of Muse warbler Matt Bellemy.

'Why Bother At All' is quite a deceptive number to open with, this rollicking bittersweet number is as rocking as it gets with the remainder of the record taking on an overly pop feel.

First single, 'Isabelle' is a chirpy, hook filled bittersweet number, and takes in elements of blues and country making it accessible for cooler-than-thou kids to people that buy most of their music from Tesco.

The record also has more of a political slant than previous releases, Suchan sings of what it's like to be an American at a time when animosity towards Uncle Sam is at an all time high. The best example of this is the albums closing statement and highlight, 'Colour Us Canadian', where Suchan wails about pretending to be Canadian to save face, on top of a lush musical backdrop.

The momentum and quality dip in the middle with a couple of lifeless numbers with the overly familiar pop element becoming boring and without any decent long-lasting hooks.

'A Sad Man's Face' pulls the album from it's nose-dive just in time, this piano-led bluesy number is immediate and catchy, with Suchan sounding confident and defiant throughout.

'Hard Times are in Fashion' is a pleasant listen, certainly not the most original record in the world, but one that contains plenty of charming moments.