Review: As Tuff City Kids, Lauer and Gerd Janson are masters at delivering raw-as-sandpaper jackin' house-pop (just the way we like it). Here though with the help of Norwegian popette Annie they indulge their hidden campy side on the monumentally fun "Labyrinth". With a classic mid-80s arpeggiated energy, the track perfectly straddles the fine line between Italo Disco and early Jamie Principle (think Bad Boy) with a hint of the Smalltown Boys. Their own TCK rework steers things more towards the Ron Hardy side of town, and there's also some tasty reworks by Morgan Geist and DJ Oyster too.
Review: Here's something to write home about: a surprise debut album from on-point retro-futurists Tuff City Kids, AKA Running Back boss Gerd Janson and old pal Phillip Lauer. Given the opportunities for expression offered by the album format, it's perhaps unsurprising to find that they've decided against packing it entirely with hustling, warehouse-ready old skool house jams. Instead, their usual vintage synth stabs and drum machine rhythms are put to work on tracks that variously doff a cap to skewed synth-pop (Joe Goddard collaboration "Tell Me", Annie hook-up "Labyrinth"), cello-laden late night house (Kelley Polar hook-up "Aska"), acid-flecked electro ("Boilered"), early Human League tributes ("Scared"), and blissfully positive electronica ("Farewell House").