Tough Age Stay True to Form on 'Waiting Here'

BY Francis BaptistePublished Jun 15, 2023

The latest album from indie pop mainstays Tough Age celebrates 10 years of the band's upbeat, straightforward brand of pop rock. Known for their peppy tempos and unfussy guitar riffs, Tough Age deliver more of what their fanbase craves: a reason to get out of your seat and jump around to some joyous, raucous rock songs.

Waiting Here sees the band return to the west coast. After spending years in Toronto, the trio touches back down in Vancouver, reuniting with some past members in the process. This hometown return seems to have sparked a new vigor in the veteran group. The 10 songs on Waiting Here sound just as lively and bombastic as the songs on Tough Age's self-titled debut, which came out a decade prior. 

Original bassist Lauren Smith has rejoined the band, after spending some years in much-adored Vancouver DIY bands like WUT and Jock Tears. Her presence seems to have energized the band, and she sings the main vocal on the track "Paradise by Another Name" and provides backing vocals on "Time & Again."

The album was recorded live to tape and performed as a three-piece, which included Jarrett Evan Samson on guitar and vocals, Jess Locke on drums, and Smith on bassist and vocals. It's nice to hear something that's a little more raw and true to form, which feels increasingly rare with the advances in recording technology and affordability. It's comforting to hear a record that isn't fully quantized to metronomic precision and auto-tuned to a flawless polish. 

The band continues to refine their particular approach to pop on Waiting Here. The beats and the riffs might sound like familiar territory, but lyrically and musically they continue to grow at their own pace, trying to perfect their own brand of rock. There will always be a place in the world for a solid three-chord rock song, and Tough Age have been contributing to that legacy for over a decade now.
(We Are Time)

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