The Houserockers' first album, originally released in 1979, sounds like the work of a great, battle-hardened bar band who is still learning how to make their sound work in the studio. The arrangements suggest an imaginative cross between Bruce Springsteen's E-Street Band and the J. Geils Band's early period, and the band is tight and skillful throughout. But the production is a bit flat, and the sound lacks the presence and punch this material needs. And while Joe Grushecky would mature into a top-shelf songwriter by the time the band released their second album, most of the tunes on Love's So Tough are standard issue cars-and-girls stuff, though the two numbers about the sorry state of rock & roll ("Heroes Are Hard to Find" and "I'm Lucky") cut deep, and "I Can't Take It" kicks things off with a bang. Even at it's weakest moments, Love's So Tough burns with a passion and fire that makes clear the Iron City Houserockers were true believers in the power of rock & roll.
AllMusic Review by Mark Deming