Young Glaswegians Tuff Love have been sporadically sprinkling EPs around for the last few years: now the time has come to compile Junk, Dross and Dregs (their titles, not mine) into one convenient package. The name of the game is gorgeous, hazy guitar pop with more than a touch of shoegaze shimmer. Released by Lost Map.
8/10 Clinton Staff review, 27 January 2016
Tuff Love are two ladies from Scotland who make simple but melodic indie pop which references the sweet poppy 80’s indie pop of the Primitives as much as it does the noisier ’90’s fuzz of the Breeders and Veruca Salt. I’m also very happy that the inner sleeve has one of those photo montages that many records used to have. Whilst i peruse the photos of them on tour, having fun and messing about the album is jangling along in my headphones. Tuff Love have, for reasons best known to themselves, labelled their EP’s with titles like ‘Dregs’, ‘Dross’ and ‘Junk’ and this collection compiles all three. So what I’m going to do is cut and paste our reviews of all three into this review and give it, say, an 8 and everyone is happy right?
Tuff Love have called their newest 10" EP ‘Dregs’, possibly to prepare people for the fact it spans five songs and under twenty minutes of music. As ever, it sounds like Tuff Love doling out a couple thoughts for free: with the same rough-edged indie rock that makes Alex G and Sauna Youth sound so good, they murmur-harmonise their way through songs. A handful of chords and a hint of jangle, it’s all you need to save the world and/or keep it adequately on its axis.
The best moments in Tuff Love’s music are where they get a little too hyped for themselves: “Threads” is a propelling and euphorically riffed song that still sticks with the band’s trademark whispers: the music sounds like it’s heating up, preparing for something on the other end of the spectrum, but the band stay quiet and cautious as their melodies begin to light up. These little nuggets deserve the spotlight the band give them, and they make ‘Dregs’ an unbelievably pleasant listen.
Calling your EP 'Dross’ is a sure sign of having confidence in your own work and Tuff Love have plenty to be confident about, especially on the opening track ‘Slammer’, which is an almost perfect slab of Breeders-inspired wonky guitar pop. It's as cool as a cucumber and one of those tunes it's impossible to imagine not being all over the 6 Music airwaves. The band have sweet duel vocals which fly like a Deal sisters flag across the Lush-like melodies. Check it.
Elsewhere ‘That’s Right’ adds a smidge of distortion to the vocals but they open up into a harmonious chorus with a melody that kind of recalls The Auteurs ‘Lenny Valentino’. ‘Doberman’ over on the flip is one of the other main highlights - slowing the pace with some the Cure inspired bass-lines, twinkly, spindly guitar and some big chunky alt-rock guitar chords. This is very, very good stuff and will appeal to folks with one arm still snared in the ‘90s guitar pop of the likes of Belly, Lush and Magnapop.
Here’s an EP of C86ish indie jangle from a new trio from Glasgow called Tuff Love. The formula is simple, bouncing and slightly antipodean-sounding numbers with jagged clean tones and fuzzy distorted ones, accompanied by bored sounding, breathy vocals that are somewhat at odds with the energetic music and lend it a wistful, nostalgic feeling.
They’re reminding me a little bit of September Girls. Economically written songs with cute harmonies and catchy tunes with a delivery which is equal parts androgynous dreaminess and playful indie-rock chunk. They’re hardly rewriting the rulebook here but it’s very pleasant stuff with a charming and carefree feel, I think I’d enjoy seeing these songs live.
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