Koufax – S/T EP


Koufax are somewhat of a conundrum for me. I’m not exactly sure what style of music this is, and therefore, it’s difficult. After all, critics like to pigeonhole music into general terms like “emo” and “rock,” don’cha know? But Koufax have elements of rock and electronica and both indie and pop qualities. So where to put them? Um, somewhere right in the middle.
Koufax was begun by Rob Suchan of The Leftovers (also filled in on guitar with labelmates Joshua) with some former members of The Leftovers and Empire State Games. Their elements aren’t especially unique, but what they do with them make this EP truly interesting. They are definitely a rock band, but they take their keyboardist and make him a primary member instead of shoving him into the background as other bands like the Get Up Kids have done. The keyboards work perfectly here, making a backbone for some emo-style rock and adding elements of groove or electronica to them. And Suchan’s vocals are interesting, usually atonal but fitting to the rock.
“A Soundwave Sound” starts with some cool backbeat and synthesizers, almost hip-hop sounding. But the guitars and vocals kick in, and you know this is a rock track. This song is catchy as hell, and the different elements work perfectly, making this the perfect standout track for this relatively new band. The rock part reminds me of Metroschifter, perhaps with a DJ thrown in. “Living Alone” starts off like a typical emo-rock track, off-tone vocals and guitar-driven, but half-way through the keyboards kick in and this song becomes unique. The song explodes into a musical interlude that rocks hard and slows down with some honest-to-goodness groove keyboard and vocals. “Going to Happen” is just plain awesome, rocking loud and fast with amazing rhythm, a fantastic and catchy chorus, and 80’s synth pop elements keeping it going. And finally, “So Long to You and I” is much more somber and sad, almost a ballad, with soft acoustic guitar and gentle keyboards. It’s emotional but not heartwrenching or cry-baby whining. And I just realized Suchan’s voice reminds me of the singer of Lazycain.
The word is, Get Up Kids frontman Matt Pryor wants to sign Koufax to the Kids’ Heroes & Villains label for their first full-length. Whether they sign to the Kids’ label or not, people are going to say Koufax are Get Up Kids wanna-bes, just like they said that about The Anniversary. But don’t believe those people, because Koufax are original in a way I haven’t heard in a while. Emo-style poppy rock combined with heavy keyboards that give the rock an almost 80s synth groove, Koufax do a lot of things well. Best of all, they’re unique, and that goes a long way in my book. So what if you can’t pigeonhole them in a specific genre. In my book, that makes them all the better.