Wading through the overflowing pool of reverb-heavy, doo-wop heaving, ’60s riffing indie garage rocks has been like fumbling from the kiddie end into the 6 ft. mark. It ain’t quite as fun as that first cannonball. So consider this Tough Age debut LP that moment when your flailing arms grab the metal steps and you pull yourself up for air, kinda sit there for a second, get your breath, and realize that cool water on a stifling day still feels fine.
This Vancouver four-piece toggles between the scraggly, New Zealandy lo-fi cackle-infused shoegaze of bands like Yuck or Joanna Gruesome (Dream Date, Cocaine Voucher, I Waste Too Much Time On Myself) and a fatter wad of the bubblegum sock-hopping that Hunx, Shannon & the Clams, Jacuzzi Boys, et al. have been chewing on for a while (The Heart Of Juliet Jones). It finds its most intriguing footing when the group’s overall fast-fuzz goes a little lava-lampish (Sea Of White, Seahorse) and those moments where singer, Jarrett K., digs down into a Mark E. Smith snarl (Coffin Foam, We’re Both To Blame)
For all the cutesieness that can subsume this sub-genre, it’s refreshing to see a band that can play it with a little R’n’R swagger and not just as a set-up for condescending kvetching and pink-hued album covers. Speaking of which, this particular album art is awesome. Get the vinyl!