Tough Age

I Get the Feeling Central

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Tough Age cooked up a tasty gumbo of surf guitars, garage rock melodies, and punk rock velocity on their self-titled debut album in 2013, and for their follow-up, 2015's I Get the Feeling Central, the band has added another ingredient to the mix: psychedelia. While not much on I Get the Feeling Central sounds overtly trippy and the lyrics don't ponder the sound of purple, songs like "Landau, Luckman & Lake," "New Orleans Square," and the title track do walk a fine line between the ringing leads of surf music and a darker undertow that encompasses other sonic possibilities flowing through sound and space. Singer and lyricist Jarrett Samson already displayed a more diverse and challenging world-view than the average retro-styled combo on Tough Age's debut, and that certainly hasn't changed, with plenty of surreal wordplay on numbers like "Warm Hair" and "Gutter Lemon" and keen personal observations on "Flotsam" and "Guilt." Tough Age seem more capable and confident on their second go-round, and that plays a key role that sets this album apart; though the approach is a bit different, for the most part Tough Age are simply getting better at what they did on their first LP, and the interplay between guitarist Penny Clark, bassist Lauren Smith, and drummer Chris Martell is tighter, more thoughtful, and more effective after two years of touring. In short, Tough Age first made a great debut album, and now they've also made a great second album that beats the curse of the sophomore slump with solid songs and performances that are even more effective than what they've given us before. If they can stretch themselves a little bit further on their third LP, Tough Age will be the band to beat in the Canadian garage punk sweepstakes.

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