Missing gigs is a pain in the arse. Tuff Love threw a launch party for their Dross EP in Glasgow’s Nice n’ Sleazy and I couldn’t go. Ah well, next time I hope. Consolation comes in the form of a copy of their altogether wonderful new record. Top marks go to their label Lost Map Records who’ve produced a gorgeous glossy cover containing 10”s of baby pink vinyl. I love it before I’ve even heard it. Anyway…
On the evidence of this record Tuff Love do a couple of things brilliantly. Firstly, their vocal harmonies are absolutely spot on. The mixture of the high and low voices in verses, and particularly in choruses, stands out on every song. They sing ‘I’ve got rage’ in soft but assertive voices and don’t need to yell to get their point across. Secondly, the interplay between guitar and bass is wonderful. Bass is so often used in the background but Tuff Love throw it to the front where it happily shares lead duties with the guitar to make it all sound inventive and refreshing. Ok. I’ll add a third. They’ve got great songs that are brought completely to life by points one and two.
Across these five tracks we get the quiet / loud / quiet dynamic several times, particularly on opening track ‘Slammer’ with it’s playful guitar riff. The loud bit is teasingly brief during the first couple of choruses but it does rock out towards the end. There’s raucous sounding punk in ‘That’s Right’ which sounds like Queens of the Stone Age’s ‘Little Sister’ except this time it’s loosened up and running wild. Both ‘Sebastian’ and ‘Doberman’ scoop up a little bit of Pavement’s sound mingling with a mellow Speedy Ortiz, all bouncing bass lines and guitar melodies that sometimes sound like they don’t quite fit but somehow do. Closing track ‘Cum’ is the most sombre moment. The doleful harmonies on the chorus bringing perfectly to life the feeling of regret over an ex that’s moved on to better things.
This is a record to treasure. Five songs genuinely in the top quality bracket, seriously impressive from such a new band. It’s packed with tunes and harmonies, plenty variety, immediately catchy, smooth in places, rough in others and will not fail to grab your attention. Track it down, be quick to get the pink vinyl if that’s your thing. Doesn’t matter how you get it, just make sure you do. Tough not to love? Impossible would be more accurate.
The Dross E.P. by Tuff Love is released on 9th Feb by Lost Map Records. Vinyl and download available here