Review: “Which Way Am I?” by Tough Age

Review by Mark Anthony Brennan


Although now based in Toronto, Tough Age are from Vancouver and their West Coast sensibilities are very apparent. They have a folksy lyricism, despite being driven by garage rock/proto-punk energy (in clear evidence on tracks like the colourful ‘My Life’s a Joke & I’m Throwing It Away’). Their music can actually be beautiful (check out the lovely instrumental ‘Mathers Ave’), and is often bouncy and upbeat. However, this can be deceiving as their poppiness is heavily tempered by a grim outlook. They actually give a false sense of ’90s fun while delivering lyrics that reflect the dark reality of the 21st century.

Tough Age have the instant appeal that could attract almost anyone, but it is primarily the serious listener who will fully appreciate that they are following in the tradition of Television and Talking Heads by playing lively music that serves as a vehicle for their commentary on modern day life.