Well. While I like this label a lot, and while Tough Stuff reminds me of quite a few other bands (Shinobu, the Albert Square, maybe Sundials?), the songs here are proficient enough but really don’t pack all that much spark. A handful of mid-tempo songs seemingly stuck between the traditional foundations of indie rock and punk—on paper it seems like it should be phenomenal, but College just doesn’t work all that well. Kinda poppy riffs punctuated by kinda emo guitar lines and lyrics that kinda toe the line between nonsense and a bunch of guys who actually do seem to be trying to navigate their through their college lives. It strikes me thusly: I may in fact just be too old of a dude to get this record. On the other hand, there seems to be a distinct lack of ferocity here, and I don’t necessarily mean sonically—just that little fishhook of energy or emotion, something that’s going to catch me and pull me back, that’s what seems to be missing here.
–keith (Secret Pennies)