Hailing from Glasgow, Tuff Love is made up of Julie Eisenstein (guitar, vocals) and Suse Bear (bass, vocals) plus live drummer Iain Stewart, they create kaleidoscopic head-down indie popsoundscapes that transport me back to the hedonistic days of the early 90’s and conjure images of endless summer nights, sat round a campfire, smoking sputnik and drinking Thunderbird.
Not so much an album, more a merging of their first three EP’s (Junk, Dregs & Dross), brought together beautifully to create this 15 track collection of 3 minute dreamy delights that’ll have you reaching for the Play button over and over again.
Opening with ‘Sweet Discontent’, the track really sets the scene for the next 47 minutes, its opening vocals with an almost deadpan sinister edge are soon accompanied with a driving beat and catchy guitar riff which really sets these young ladies apart from their present day indie led contemporaries.
From here it’s a pleasant ride for the remainder of the album, consisting of some beautifully crafted and well executed slices of heavenly pop that retain your interest throughout.
Highlights of the album for me include ’Flamingo’, which kicks in with a little more oomph than the opener, upbeat from the off, the song does a great job of showcasing their ability to crack out a decent indie ditty. ‘That’s Right’ is pretty full on compared to some of the earlier tracks, bringing a semi-grunge sound, it does a grand job of lifting you a little and refocuses your attention should you have entered a trance-like state from the soothing and caressing melodies that are offered in the first half.
The elastic bass riff on ‘Doberman’ overlaid with the crunchy guitar and sublime vocals sounds amazing, certainly a contender for ’track of the album’ should that accolade ever come to fruition….
The album closer ‘Carbon’ opens up with some glorious finger picked guitar prior to coming together with the bass and drums to form a track that really shines.
From listening to the album in the order it’s been put together, you can hear the progression from a much rawer, fuzzier sound emanating from the early ‘Junk’ to a more polished, rounded offering, clearly visible in the later tracks lifted from their ’Dross’ EP.
This is an album that’s been on constant repeat on our system for the past couple of weeks since it landed in our inbox, if you enjoy your indie pop with a large dollop of fuzz and a side order of swirling guitar, then head down to your local record shop, stand in line and demand everyone buys a copy, they can thank you later!
Review by Steve Muscutt