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King Tuff | The Other | Album Review

Sub Pop Records
4 out of 5 stars

Photo courtesy of Bandcamp

King Tuff’s new album, The Other, released on April 13, takes after neo-garage bands like The Donkeys or Ty Segall but brings his own gothic psychedelia to the genre.

Opening with its namesake song, The Other starts off with a post-apocalyptic search for a mysterious something only ever referred to as “the other.” The rest of the collection seems driven forward by this initial encounter, each song hitting the listener in the face like sonic episodes in a musical version of Dante’s Inferno.    

Though the album retains some of the surreal signature that King Tuff fans will recognize, The Other sounds markedly different. Lyrics are much easier to hear and the instrumentation sounds fuller than previous albums. It features electronic sounds and choral vocals on songs like “Thru the Cracks” or a harmonica in “Infinite Mile.”

The metaphysical themes threaded through the album are best summed up by two lines from the song “Psycho Star:” “The universe is probably an illusion / But isn’t it so beautifully bizarre.” The rest of The Other is filled with similar vivid images and philosophical musings about impermanence. Notably in the song “Circuits in the Sand,” Tuff sings about a culture where everyone is on their phones, imagining a future where the circuits that fuel the digital revolution are reduced to ancient ruins.

The Other is a futuristic metaphysical fever dream. This album slows down from the pounding drums and distortion to reflect on current issues and culture without losing the characteristic edge for which King Tuff is known.

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