Video: The Tough Alliance, “Neo Violence”

May 21, 2008

Tough Alliance's go-to director Marcus Söderlund takes the next logical step in his development of the duo's video aesthetic by setting them deep inside a lazer castle. Smoke wafts, white columns frame the boys in all-white outfits, and absolute indifference is the mood. Is there any good reason why the entire world doesn't love this band yet? We'll be here waiting if you think of one, but in the meantime, read our Gen F on TTA from FADER 48 after the jump and watch most of the rest of their videos here.

Never Mind The Never Mind
The Tough Alliance dare you to love them

Story by Peter Macia

Photography by Markus Marcetic

The Tough Alliance don’t do phoners, they don’t want individual credits for their emailed answers and they don’t smile for the camera. They carry baseball bats onstage, get in fights with enraged crowds (“We guess they didn’t understand the beauty in us simulating tennis serves against them and things like that.”) and only appear on television in music videos where they clumsily dance with sullen faces. They’re notorious in their native Sweden for lip-synching during shows (“We actually have a microphone plugged in to be able to sing along if we feel like it.”) and they apparently turned down an offer from Burger King to use one of their songs in an ad. This behavior would normally make the Tough Alliance the new young punks, if only their music didn’t sound like 1983 prom jams.

The New School, the soon-to-be-stateside debut from duo Henning Fürst and Eric Berglund, pairs criminally addictive dance pop with puppy love and good times lyrics sung through gritted teeth. Their recent European single “First Class Riot” offers Something else, something bright and pure/ Something that you’ve never felt before as its call to arms. The Tough Alliance, in other words, are aggressive optimists. “There is a romanticizing of misery in pop culture that we hate, hate, hate,” they write. “People who know what real misery is know the importance of focusing on the bright sides of one’s existence in order to survive.” While that real misery may consist of middle class ennui when they “got tired of destroying the schoolyard in the nighttime, inhaling butane gas and that kind of thing,” the result was something closer to Public Image Ltd than the Sex Pistols, if not fully embracing pop music where Lydon tried satire.

“We try not to analyze our impulses and inspirations cause we don’t want them to disappear or, even worse, become controlled. The worst thing that could happen to us is that our expression would feel affected or artificial,” they say. Their songs are jock jams
for kids who hate sports, brainy radio hits and love songs for jaded web kids. They don’t seem to care about anything but sincerity and connection, so what about the lip synching? “The singing sounds much better recorded, plus we can concentrate on more important things like dancing and communicating with the audience. You can’t let yourself go totally if you have to concentrate on playing the right notes and shit like that.”

Video: The Tough Alliance, “Neo Violence”