This is the Tuff Love story thus far. A couple of years back Johnny Lynch (he of The Pictish Trail fame) signs them to his rather wonderful wee record label Lost Map. A two person band with a Glaswegian home and a fistful of tunes, Tuff Love fit all of those essential Lost Map criteria. They are warm, adventurous and in proud possession of a truly creative musical spirit.
Tuff Love release their first EP. Then their second. And last November it is time for their third. These records are called Junk, Dross and Dregs respectively; throwaway titles that are the complete antithesis of their content. They are bright, breezy and buoyant. And reveal a keen interest in the sun and the noble art of making the listener feel good.
The first two of these EPs have long since sold out. The third is sure to follow suit. So those most considerate people at Lost Map have put all three EPs onto one big long playing record. They have called it Resort and this fifteen track compilation is Tuff Love’s debut album.
The songs on Resort come in the precise chronological order in which they first appeared. It is the complete soundtrack to Tuff Love’s recording history. From the opening bars of ‘Sweet Discontent’ to the final strains of ‘Carbon’ we can just sit back and relax in the passenger seat on Tuff Love’s musical journey.
Julie Eisenstein and Suse Bear, nobly assisted by The Phantom Band drummer Iain Stewart, drive us serenely along the highways and byways of sun-kissed grunge pop. Along the way their acute sense of melodic and lyrical intent gathers pace. Eisenstein’s guitar may still fuzz and Bear and Stewart’s rhythm may well still chime but at each EP milestone the songs have undergone a slow, subtle maturation process.
Resort creates a perfect staging post on Tuff Love’s sonic adventure. The band has travelled far in a very short space of time. And this record serves as a glorious testament to this fact. But now is the time for Tuff Love to draw a most welcome breath and chart the next steps in their continuing musical odyssey. And in the inspired dreamy ambience of Resort‘s concluding cut ‘Carbon’ they do seem to have found a clear, new direction forward.
Resort is released on 29th January 2016 via Lost Map Records.