EP Review: Tuff Love – Dregs

Posted by Nina Glencross

Tuff Love - Dregs

They say all good things come in threes, and for Glasgow’s favourite slacker pop duo Tuff Love, Dregs completes a glorious trinity of introductory EPs.  Following Junk and Dross, Dregs shows a band who’ve finally come into their own, having honed and embraced their sound across the three records.

This welcomed boost in confidence is apparent straight away.  Opener and lead single Duke is upbeat and relentless – a fantastic way to open the last in a trilogy of releases.  Crocodile is pretty mesmerising, in a dreamy 90s grunge pop sort of way.  What’s evident throughout Dregs, and particularly in this second track, is how Julie Eisenstein and Suse Bear have used their penchant for soft, laidback vocals and cleverly executed harmonies to develop their own signature sound – and a great one at that.

These soft vocals can often melt into the background, becoming one with the music, rather than being at the forefront.  It’s a beautiful sound (who doesn’t appreciate a good ‘ahh’ once in a while?) but can sometimes make it difficult to make out and appreciate the lyrics.  But on songs like Threads this isn’t as much of an issue.  We’re given a glimpse into the band’s talent for captivating songwriting, and like many Glasgow bands of their calibre, what seems like a shimmering summer pop gem at first is revealed as having a far deeper lyrical twist.

This darkness begins to seep itself into the music with Amphibian.  Taking things down a notch, it seems like a harmlessly slow and steady track.  But, when compared to the rest of the record, it’s got some pretty haunting and unsettling elements throughout, making it a great listen simply for how it stands out.  If Threads is a sunny day, Amphibian is twilight, with a full moon creeping up from the horizon.

Closer Carbon is possibly one of Tuff Love’s most profound tracks to date.  To finish the trio of EPs with a song like this is nothing short of genius.  It’s another one where you can really enjoy the lyrics.  In fact, you can almost imagine the story being told by Julie and Suse, as the music helps paint the picture in your mind, keeping things interesting with regular time signature changes.

If Duke was a deafening announcement of their return, Carbon is a gently defiant declaration that they are here to stay.  While Dregs may be the last of their introductory EPs, it’s certainly not the last we’ll hear from Tuff Love.

Tuff LoveDregs is released on Friday November 6th via Lost Map Records and will be available on digital download and 10” vinyl here.

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Posted by: Toni Spencer, 20th February 2016