NYC trio Tuff Sunshine cover a surprising amount of ground on their brand new five-track EP, Kids Know. Like their moniker suggests, Tuff Sunshine represent an interesting duality that makes navigating their sound a challenging task. But in the days where “indie rock” or “garage rock” bands can be as varied as the New York political spectrum, lumping new music together based on genre feels like a feeble attempt. Luckily, Tuff Sunshine run the gamut at a smooth, slick pace, straight into buzz band territory. Even their EP coverart employs a cheap poster maker paper canvass populated with cracked out, supplier publication-varied collage.
While borrowing bits from the past thirty years of the New York underground– plus grabbing from subtle influences that range from soul to post-punk– Tuff Sunshine have made an auspicious first mark with Kids Know. Opener “All Hail The One That Got Away,” a bluesy stomp through layers of melodic grit, charges full speed ahead until it meets a satisfying climax. “Honeymoon” recalls an early 90s influence courtesy of alternating guitar sounds: one part harsh and crunchy, one part thoroughly sweet. Plus, you can’t miss that cow bell! But if that weren’t already enticing enough, Ani Cordero’s power-drumming pretty much seals the deal.
Title track “Kids Know” is a choice cut of grungy power-pop, but it’s hard not to favor “Mining the Moat,” an irresistible head-banger that will unknowingly awaken memories of Jack & Meg way-back-when (you know, the good old days). Slick, soulful vocals? Check. Smooth, grooving bass? Hand claps galore? It’s all there, and it’s ripe for the taking; as far as modern garage rock goes, “Mining the Moat” essentially strikes gold.
Tuff Sunshine present cool displays of rock n’ roll badassery mixed with a well-tuned, melodic vibe. But really, we don’t care what you want to call it; so long as Tuff Sunshine keep offering these satisfying jams by the handful, we’ll keep taking them.
3 / 5 bars