Rather than verses and choruses, the songs are built more on repeating phrases that may or may not linger, both with the notes plucked and the lyrics sung. They frame their melodies, put them on pedestals, walk around and ogle them. You ride the songs as much as listen to them, a boat bobbing on an ocean that threatens trouble on the horizon.

Like a combination of Harpswell Sound and Spouse, Toughcats have managed to create a sound that's both rootsy and modern, playing with the framework of crisp three-minute pop songs. You get the idea they could have been made any time in the last 50 years, but never sound dated or derivative.

That kind of timelessness is hard to achieve and a sign that a band just might stick around for a while.

Woodenball | Released by Toughcats | with Audrey Ryan | at Oak and the Ax, in Biddeford | Sep 20 |  toughcats.com

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