Music » This Little Underground

Local record review: Tierney Tough's voice is the focus on ‘A Farce to Reckon With,’ out Friday



Orlando's Tierney Tough has been involved in the music scene locally and nationally with all manner of projects. Of course, there's her own long-running band the Pauses. Then there've been stints in other bands, notable ones like War on Women, Matt Pond PA and Beach Slang.

And don't forget about her work as a scene-building organizer, with events like the Orange You Glad Music Festival, the Pauses' annual 1990s shows and countless special engagements with indie royalty.

Throughout all these years, however, none of it was just for her until now. Tough's first solo single, "Apartment 54," recently dropped on June 23. But this Friday, July 9, her full three-song EP, A Farce to Reckon With, will be fully unveiled.

The recording shows glimpses of her connections, with credits by longtime Pauses collaborator J. Robbins (Jawbox), Patrick Newbery (Cursive) and Shawn Alpay (Laura Stevenson, How to Dress Well). But this work is all about Tierney, and it's something of a revelation.

Tough's voice is prominent in the Pauses, and her elegant singing coupled with the band's intricate indie rock have always made for interesting interplay. But on her solo debut, the vibe-rich musical framing is notably geared to suit her lithe vocal melodies rather than be a dynamic foil to them.

More than anything, this record is a showcase for Tough's vocal expression. Freed of the need to shine by juxtaposition or contrast, her beckoning voice is the focus and feature here, in a space that gives it full play on its own natural terms. For Tough's supple essence, it's a welcome and liberating setting.

A Farce to Reckon With streams everywhere this Friday, but it's up for preorder now on Bandcamp. The EP will have a limited edition run on vinyl and cassette. If you opt for the physical product, you'll be lavished with Tough's well-known attention to tangible media: The vinyl edition is a Polaroid-themed box set with a lathe cut for each song. The cassette version features a glitter shell and comes with a vintage Tierney Tough pencil from a stash that her mom had made for her when she was a kid. Yes, an actual piece of her childhood comes with purchase. The only thing more precious is her own soul, and that's already in the songs.

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