Friday, April 10, 2015

Tough- Hurricane

If they're willing to stay the course, a band's evolution is something that comes quite naturally and gracefully with time but when it is consistently brought on with no choice, this is the truest test of endurance. In watching the changes Tough has gone through since the very beginning, their presence has never once become diluted but only solidifies with each passing year and this makes me love them all the more. This is a band that's supposed to be here in this moment and is a constant source of inspiration for those that are willing to turn their sights towards Italy's magnificent punk rock scene. After a very successful release of their 7", "Obey The Ramones" last year and a change in their lineup occurring soon after, I was excited to see what this now Piacenza/Milan based trio would do next. I'm happy to have an answer for that curiosity in the form of another 7" entitled, "Hurricane" and that's what I will be making sure everyone out there who's tuned into this little radio frequency knows about today!!

The songs were recorded during mid January at Giardini Sonori Studio in Piacenza, IT by Cristiano Sanzeri and mastering was done by Alessandro Vanara making this the band's second time working with them. With as strong as the "Obey The Ramones" sessions turned out, this was a great choice to return to the same place and it's easily proven by what is heard! Along with Tough's always hands on approach as self producers, this studio catered to the vision and made the finished product a repeat success. I am simply crazy for the cover art done by Riccardo Bucchioni. It's a very cool continuation of the previous 7''s cover, taking the already battle scarred cat and making him ten times more menacing with a face that's become completely exposed to the elements, revealing the skull but for some reason he's still alive! That striking transition is a perfect example of why I see Riccardo as a superhero of imagery in the punk rock realm and I'll be so proud to own another piece of his work! The layout also done by him is well complimented by a beautiful photo of the band taken from a shoot done by Serena Groprelli. With all that finished, official release is today, April 10th and is once again being brought to you by Kevin Aper and his team of badasses at Monster Zero Records! I just never run out of admiration for that label. Digital only can be found on Tough's bandcamp page and you can stream the whole thing for free too!

By the looks of the cover art, it's pretty obvious that things are moving into a more tumultuous place with the songs and that is confirmed with the title track, a tale of chaos and anticipation of betrayal called "Hurricane" waiting to greet you first. Chris Polecat's direct approach as a songwriter is going strong as he wastes little time with his wording and like a true member in the church of the Ramones, he takes less and gives more with a full picture of his emotion. His downstroked to perfection bass lines and well defined, powerful voice are joined by Biso's always accurate and monumental skill as a drummer. As a longtime Tough fan, those are elements I can count on and this leads into my curiosity with the newest member, Robi Tuono. I admire Robi on so many different levels with his work done in other projects(Mega/Drawing Dead) and he proves once again to be a total asset as the new guitar player. with the exception of "Badly" which is a simple expression of romantic desire, the other two tracks, "Hey Hey Hey(oh no)" and "Sick Of You" stay on the path of the first. My choice for standout track is "Sick Of You". It's an honest expression of a painful situation, narrating a relationship as it falls apart which is sad BUT I love it because in these times when so many others will make a song like that into a display of pure emo garbage, Chris does not. It's still purely a punk rock song and still very much Tough.

As someone who is wildly in love with the concept of a band putting their all into a small time limit, I'm impressed as hell with what Tough did inside of four songs that clock in at under eight minutes. Our forefathers built that foundation in 1974 and with more than 40 years passing by since, it's wonderful to see bands like Tough still getting it. Get this 7" from the MZ store or of course the fine people at Striped Music who should be carrying it soon! Chris, Biso, and Robi of course won't be resting with this newest effort and besides playing shows, you can expect to see them recording a new full length LP in the beginning of next year so stay current with all those details as they develop on their facebook page!

Tough is...
ChrisPolecat- Bass and Vocals
Robi Tuono- Guitar and Backing Vocals
Biso- Drums 

All songs written by Chris Polecat

1. Hurricane
2. Hey Hey Hey(oh no)
3. Badly 
4. Sick Of You 

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