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Tough Age

Tough Age

(Mint; US: 12 Nov 2013; UK: 9 Dec 2013)

Garage Rock at Its Most Competent

Tough Age is a garage-punk outfit fronted by Vancouver’s Jarrett K (formerly of Korean Gut) with Penny Clark on guitar, Lauren Smith on bass and Chris Martell on drums. The tunes are raucous and high-energy if not especially groundbreaking, with standouts such as “Coffin Foam” and “Have You Seen Her” providing plenty of lo-fi hooks and rhythmic oomph for listeners to hold on to. There’s more than a dash of the Ramones here, both in Jarrett’s vocal stylings and the ’50s-era melodies and song structures of a tune like “The Heart of Juliet Jones”.


Garage rock is a tough genre to stand out in—let’s face it, the technical chops required to bash out a few chords don’t exactly pose a high threshold of difficulty. Tough Age does as good a job as anyone at meeting these minimum standards, while crafting few fun pop songs along the way. There’s little enough to separate them from the already-crowded pack, however.

Rating:

DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


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