Debut LP Resort Due On January 29th Via Lost Map.
Winners of Band To Watch and Band Member With Best Name Awards (at my own personal but very prestigious award ceremony) are Glasweigen indie-poppers Tuff Love. Suse Bear and Julie Eisenstein who make up the band have been an extremely lucky pair, having only been around 18 months their lo-fi waves have been reverberating around the country’s taste makers; the result being that the duo can count Steve Lamacq and Lauren Laverne as fans (and regular radio players). To top it off the group even landed a support slot with emperors of shoegaze Ride, no small achievement for any band, let alone one that is younger than most cheeses.
But there’s no luck without talent or hard work, and Dregs, their latest LP, is an exhibition of the great and good that has happened over that impressive period. Unlike most albums, which are put together thematically or constructed as a ‘body of work’, this is simply a coagulation of their three previous EPs. But what it lacks in the grand artistic vision department in makes up for with the important stuff; pure hand-rubbing, feet-stamping phwoar factor (otherwise known as bloody good songs). And, of course, for people who remain unfamiliar it presents an unmissable opportunity to finally get friendly.
Once again, good songs come thick and fast with this record. Straight out the gate comes ‘Sweet Discontent’ , a personal favourite of mine where soft guitars and angelic, almost menacing vocals somehow manage to up the grunge and then sprinkle it with saintliness at the same time; the result is confusing but magic nonetheless. The second track ‘Flamingo’ resembles some sort of garage-rock Western with its cowboy guitars, mention of canyons and generally more adversarial sound. Although,‘Poncho’ is perhaps the the track that, if covered first in a little butter, might fit snugly into the “token love song” category; with it’s general wishful feel.
The ‘nicest’ song on the album – and by ‘nice’ I mean plush cushions, warm milk and hugs sort of ‘nice’ – is ‘Penguin’, a fact that suddenly becomes less surprising once you know the name. Dreamy from the off, it goes: “Saw the light that hides so much about, on a motorway heading south. And it came through the night, above the trees and I heard a choir. Each voice was louder than the last.” And when it follows with mention of a bus and a lullaby, I feel I’m there; looking out dewy wet windows, heading south.
The tempo charged ‘That’s Right’ nods to a slightly moodier kind of indie but strikes me – as someone who hasn’t been fortunate to see the band live – as the sort of song that would go down particularly well live. ‘Sebastian’ goes an inch moodier still but it’s the sulky yet poignant guitars and flirtation with more experimental sounds on ‘Doberman’ that leaves you scrambling for your phone and looking for the track name. The single ‘Duke’ is an example of the band properly pulling the rabbit out of the hat though; it’s their unique concoction of aggressive, sweet and ominous best put on show. The track outdoes itself in a chorus dominated by one luscious, super-repeatable word: “Awkward.” ‘Carbon’ is a final, slightly downtrodden, number and a suitably glim ending to an LP that – by any ones standards – is inarguably good and a truly pleasant experience.