Personnel: Justin Nealis (vocals, guitar, keyboards, drum machine, percussion, background vocals); Justin Monsul, Jeff Woods (vocals, percussion); Sean Mahon (piano, organ, keyboards, synthesizer, percussion, background vocals).
Recording information: Brooklyn, NY; Red Bull Studios, Santa Monica, CA.
Having come up producing Action Bronson mixtapes (the Blue Chips series) and a massive Danny Brown hit ("Grown Up"), Party Supplies (Justin Nealis and Sean Mahon) seemed destined to debut with a feature-filled LP's worth of edgy hip-hop. That notion is wiped away once the conga-and-sequencer-driven "New York 2017" kicks off Tough Love like glittery disco fireworks or a Phoenix remix, and by the time the somewhat organic rocker "Working Out" comes in to connect the dots between the Cars, Gary Numan, and the White Stripes, the question becomes not whether it fits in the "rap" section, but whether it belongs in "dance" or "indie." Highlight "Going Back to New York" doesn't help as it divides its influences between Deep Dish and LCD Soundsystem, then "Beautiful Girl" does some advanced genre splicing by mixing the R&B style of the Weeknd with the oddball '80s genre of acid house. Like everything here, all the borrowing and the musical free association work wonders, and if wistful, bittersweet, and humble earworms that fall between New Order and Perfume Genius are desired, Tough Love offers a delicious and danceable soundtrack for couch clubbing or blissfully staying in. As ironic as this album's title must be, the band's name is spot-on. ~ David Jeffries