“We know it’s not an album in the sense that it was written to be an album, but we wanted to put a full stop after the three EPs, and releasing them all as Resort seems like a cool way to do that!” say Tuff Love of their debut compilation. A conventional debut? Not exactly. A triumphant one? Absolutely.
Resort exists in three chapters in effect, its fifteen tracks arranged in order the order they came out on the EPs. The first of those chapters is formed by 2014’s Junk, the release with which it all began for Glaswegian grunge-pop purveyors Julie Eisenstein and Suse Bear, and it would suggest that they’ve been this impeccably chilled from day one. ‘Sweet Discontent’ and ‘Penguin’ encapsulate this perfectly, oozing exactly the kind of effortless cool that comes to define the band. Even on higher tempo numbers like ‘Flamingo’, Tuff Love are in no haste; they remain cool, calm and collected in whatever they do.
The first of two EPs from Tuff Love in 2015, Dross, extends from track six through to ten. “I’ve got rage, I’ve got rage,” repeats the chorus of ‘Slammer’ – in the unlikely case that they do have rage, they’re doing a bloody good job of channelling it into something decidedly serene. Even amid the relative guitar-bass carnage of ‘That’s Right’, the irresistibly soft touch of Bear and Eisenstein’s blissful dual vocal harmonies prevails.
The third instalment, as it were, comes in the shape of last November’s Dregs EP, with the shimmering rumble of ‘Threads’ – a track whose inherently summery aura is only emphasised by its winter release – a highlight amongst the final five tracks, if not the LP as a whole. Resort then finishes at its most tranquil, ‘Amphibian’ and ‘Carbon’ – lengthy offerings by Tuff Love’s usually short and sweet standards – lulling the listener into a parting fuzz pop trance.
It may be a compilation by definition, but Resort is as cohesive and, crucially, infectious as any great debut album should be. If Tuff Love have been but a blip on the radar up until now, they’re about to show up as something far more significant. Their time is now.
Buy: Tuff Love – Resort
Live: The Brewhouse – February 29th (w/ The Prettiots)