Tough Age is no stranger to musical awesomeness. After frontman Jarrett K.’s band Korean Gut dissolved, he looked to his talented friends to build a new project. Their second full-length release is straight up well made, cool music. Its lyrical depth and killer musicianship make it a record to be reckoned with.
I Get the Feeling Central is louder and rougher than the band’s debut album, Tough Age. K.’s vocals have become more aggressive, while Lauren Smith’s bass lines have become twice as lush and badass. Penny Clark’s adept guitar skills haven’t waned in the slightest as she holds down super catchy surf-rock riffs and Chris Martel’s drumming absolutely shines on this record.
Tracks like “Warm Hair” and “Landau, Luckman & Lake” are instrumental and romantic, while “50 Girls 50” and “New Orleans Square” are show-ready jams made for moshing. Only “Guilt” breaches the five minute mark, the band being obvious fans of the pocket-sized pop song. These songs may be short but frivolous they are not. Tough Age comes back again with honest, even sad lyrics, set with a very high level of musical skill.
In “Castigation,” the lyric “No one can promise they will always be your friend” delivers a blow straight to the gut. In the same track, K. sings woefully: “I never want to be alone,” just before a frenzied guitar shred that ends the song. “Snakes & Ladders,” a chugging, high energy rock track that could be a hit single, is catchy and sonically exciting. But, the lyrics — including the glum repetition of “I’ll see you later” — evince a desire for emotional expression and a fearlessness when conveying emotional subject matter.
This is a theme that spans the whole record. The title track, “I Get That Feeling Central,” is a sonic departure from the rest of the album, incorporating an electronic component that is reminiscent of eight-bit sound, with a simple chromatic guitar line throughout. Here, true to form, K. sings “Burned out, no potential / I feel inessential.”
I Get the Feeling Central is yet another success for a band already confident in their own sound and thematic content. It is the party/melancholy dichotomy of Tough Age’s music that makes I Get the Feeling Central stand out as a great album to add to a fantastic discography.