When bands release new material, most fans are quick to devour the unheard sounds and pick their ‘stand out’ track. Lovers of Tuff Love, however, are about to face a serious dilemma. Dregs, the band’s new EP, hosts five new tracks and each one is equally as excellent as its predecessor. Favouritism is going to take on a new meaning for supporters of this Glaswegian, guitar-based duo.
As with their previous releases, Dregs was recorded and produced in bassist/vocalist Suse Bear’s flat, which makes for another rich, authentic listening experience. Together, Suse and Julie Eisenstein (guitars/vocals) have taken the husks of humiliation, anger, and dependency, and turned them in to fully-fledged, independent, shimmering rock songs.
Opener ‘Duke’ is exceptionally well balanced with its mellifluous guitar and smooth, yet edgy vocals. Eisenstein & Bear need to “Crush your hand” and shut their eyes “to feel”, but it’s an exquisite pain (and one you won’t regret being bruised by). ‘Crocodile’ may be named after a renowned natural predator, but Tuff Love’s advice to “take some rest, take some respite” – accompanied by their hypnotic guitars – re-angles the threat and makes for a calming listen.
The bouncy, surf-pop rhythm and sweet vocal delivery on ‘Threads’ underscores the severity of the lyrical content: “I broke my body and my soul for you” sing Bear & Eisenstein – but this song rectifies this act of internal warfare. This regenerative aspect is also echoed on following track ‘Amphibian’. The girls pacifying vocals and buoyant guitar will smooth out any scar tissue: “Mutation occurred – I liked what I tasted”.
‘Carbon’ – which was originally going to be named ‘Fuck Trolley’ – is smouldering, smooth, and unpolluted in its intensity. “Stand by your sister” the girls sing; an appropriate lyric for a female duo who played Glastonbury in June, a festival whose 2015 headline choices highlighted the lack of visibility of female acts at music festivals.
Dregs is a term usually applied to unwanted chemical by-products, but Tuff Love have twisted this act of disposal into something illustrious and inventive on their new EP. The future will continue to be bright for Bear & Eisenstein, who have truly hit the nail on the head with this one. You’d be a fool to overlook their obvious talent.
Dregs is out now, via Lost Map Records.