November 4th marked a momentous occasion for a band that we are well acquainted with here at LT1KF. That band of course is Tough on Fridays and the occasion was the release of their second album, “The Encore You Didn’t Ask For.” The album was released by Archangel Records (of Sydney, AU) and was announced via Press Release that same day. Already bolstering high praise and critical acclaim, this record is, in my opinion, one of the best independent records of 2022 amassing 50k streams and counting on Spotify. They snuck this one in right as we were closing out right before the holidays! Inasmuch as it is Thanksgiving week, this album will give you plenty to be thankful for, as it did for me. The band has commented that the new album is a demonstration of “what they are capable of.” Holy smokes, as if I didn’t already love the first album “A Fantastic Way to Kill Some Time.” An album that most bands would be ecstatic to have made. I think the enthusiasm expressed about this new record just speaks to how good it is though. You still have embedded Pop-Punk roots in there, certainly. The songwriting crosswalks those roots with Post-hardcore, Grunge, and Alternative Rock sensibilities so well. You are not listening to something that you could just say, “oh that’s (fill in the blank)” genre-wise. And in that, I would definitely concur that I think the record reflects a tremendous amount of growth in their songwriting. It is melodic enough to be pleasing to a top 40 audience, yet it doesn’t stray away from rocking with edgier and grittier guitar tones. To top it off, it’s also moving and lyrically deep. It pulls on those heart strings like Emo. There you go, I’ve given my thanks. Now let’s talk perhaps maybe some Vinyl for the stocking? Hint, hint…Please? Last minute Christmas wish. I hope Santa is a subscriber.
We’ve done this round robin a time or two before, but it bears repeating. The band consists of Caleigh (guitar and vocals) and Carly (bass and vocals) as founding members and primary songwriters. The project began as a duo, but they are currently performing with a third member, Chris Schreck, studio/touring drummer behind the kit. I am embarrassed to say that I still can’t quite make the distinction as to who is singing whether it’s Caleigh or Carly, when I’m only listening to the record (spoiler alert, their YouTube channel’s live performances can assist there) but cut me some slack. They both have amazing voices and they harmonize so well. I struggled with Alice in Chains too at first, don’t worry I will get there. The album is an eight track record clocking in shy of thirty minutes. Here is the track listing and some of my initial thoughts:
“Overboard!” is the lead track off the album, in which we’ve covered here when it was released as a single. The best word I can prescribe to the overall vibe of it is “epic.” Which is the way you want to start your album, really. It strikes me as emo with breaks into pop punk. It reminds me a lot of Paramore. I just love the chorus, that particular part reminds me of echoes of My Chemical Romance. The guitar work is great. Every subtle palm mute seems like it is calculated intentionally, a testament to the production. And for some reason, in my notes here I have “Goth prom dance” written down. Yeah I kind of get where I was at with that, I stand by it.
“Cabin Fever” is the second track on the record, and again one we’ve covered here when it was released as single. I would generally describe it as “haunting.” I love the harmonies on this one. I do find it to be a dark song though, but I mean, if you know me I like that. Strikes me as more of their 90s music influence coming through. Grunge and Alternative, yet still in the vein of Paramore at times. Has a tinge of skate punk in there too which I really appreciate. I particularly like the lyric “the calm before the storm, when it rains it pours.”
“Sink or Swim” is track three. I really dig this one. And this is one of the exclusives on the album not previously released as a single. I would swear I hear echoes of Underoath, MCR, and even some later ear Rise Against in this one. The tom work during the verses can make it feel “surfy” and punky and in an awesome dynamic shift, it goes into crashing cymbals and snappy kick and snare. Quarter note smashes at the end is my favorite part.
Lush (Reimaigined) is the fourth track and one I’ve been super familiar with. Not only because we covered this one too when it came out, but also because Brian Lambert (The Star Crumbles) requested it as a guest on one of our Tweetcore Radio Hour podcasts, to which I believe we were all more than obliged. Small world! If I had to give you a “hot take” on this one, I’d vote it as “catchiest” chorus. Upbeat and pop-punk, I liked the lyric “I could be your Painkiller.”
“Growing Pains” the fifth track has a lyric I really connected with: “Underestimated by a room full of broken and jaded.” Ballad feeling in nature, it could be played acoustically, but on wax is played electrically with a nice reverb reminds me of the Cranberries and nineties alternative songs similar in nature. The vocals are even reminiscent of Delores’s (without the accent) at times. Once again I’m really taken back by the harmonies on this one.
“The Awakening” is the sixth track. I was on the fence up until now about what was my favorite track until about 20 seconds into this grungy one. I love this song, it immediately jumped into the favorite category. I’m about to fanboy out on all of you at this point, I have to walk away for a minute, hang on. Okay I’m back thanks for your patience. I had to go slap my grandma that was so good. It’s grunge. It’s vengeful. It’s angry. It’s right up my alley. Also a new one not previously released. It’s one you should read the lyrics along to.
“Daisy” is the seventh track and one that I personally covered on LT1KF about a month ago. I only had speculation goggles on at the time, I knew the album was dropping, I knew about this song, and I revisited much of their previous work. So at this time I was super curious to know how much of this record was in teh vein of “Daisy” and how much was rooted in “A Fantastic Way to Kill Some Time.” Now I know. It’s the “FREEEBIIIRRRD” moment of the album. A ballad that goes into rocking epic-ness. I should’ve seen that coming.
“Message In a Bottle” is the eighth and final track of the record. And as metaphorical as I can be about these things, it’s like the “Closing Time” (like, the song) of the album vibe-wise. Sound-wise, I noted it as “The Cranberries meet The Almost.” All good things in my book. This song is the one that carries the album’s title in the lyrics. Cool little tid-bit about that. And the third previously unreleased to top off the album.
In closing I’ll reiterate that I think this is a solid album. I made a lot of references throughout what I heard, and that’s because the band’s songwriting is that eclectic. If I had to make a hardline in the sand recommendation, I would say this band is a great fit for fans of Paramore, My Chemical Romance, and The Cranberries.
Don’t forget to support this project and to follow on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, SoundCloud, YouTube, and Spotify. You can also visit their official website. If you enjoy their music and are able to provide monetary support, you might consider downloading it on Bandcamp; for virtual concerts, you can go to songkick “Live from their sofa to yours”.
It also helps to stream and share their music; you can obviously find it in the following Playlists: Fresh Singles, Indie Only, Alterindie State Of Mind, Female Rising Stars, 12 New Songs This Week, Sickest & Dopest, and Unknown But Essentials!
Remember that you can always find me here AMS Radio for all my social media and collaborations.
P.S. If you enjoy discovering new artists and fresh new music you can subscribe to this blog Less Than 1,000 Followers and follow the Playlist with all the artists that we have presented here!
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