The Tough Alliance, or TTA, is the bewildering electronic pop-duo from Gothenburg, Sweden. It was formed in the late 2003 in an apartment in Majorna by childhood friends Henning Fürst and Eric Berglund. They are currently signed on Gothenburg-based indie-label Service, although rumours swirl about a seperation from it.
In April 2004, the duo's first EP was released, called Make It Happen, consisting of four tracks, the media was knocked out by it. The intro, Tough, tells you who is the house, the title song is the perfect "you-can't-defeat-us-anthem", Take No Heroes is their homage to Daft Punk's Teachers and the very last song is a cover on 50 Cent's Many Men. The EP was enough to make the media go bananas, but the duo had to wait a bit longer before they could reach out to the public.
The duo made their exciting big debut for the masses on Accelerator Big One, Swedens biggest and most important indie-festival, in early July 2004. Henning's and Eric's choice to perform playback created a buzz throughout indie communities in Sweden. This, together with their arrogant attitude on stage, their sense of style and their fascination with hooliganism (they often swing baseball bats on stage), divided indie-Sweden in two seperate camps; one who adored them, and one who despised them.
Service and TTA decided to release another EP before the arrival of their first full-length album, giving the duo more time to focus on it. A smart move in retrospect when many hyped artist's are completely adoreable in mp3-form but far too unpolished and raw to substain an entire album. The new EP, called Holiday, only consisted of three tracks, but they were on the other side so consistent that it didn't matter. The perfect pop song and title song doesn't even have a chorus but works beautifully anyway. The second track, Pole Position, is a mere sound collage, giving the listener a teaser for the then upcoming album. The third song is a cover of the definitive C86-song; Primal Scream's Velocity Girl, renamed Velocity Boy. The jangly pop sense is gone, replaced with the sharp and direct disco and dance sense of The Tough Alliance.
Then it was quiet. Until April 2005 when an mp3 called Koka-Kola Veins was released through Service's web page. The album, cocky named The New School, arrived shortly after for glowing reviews in every important Scandinavian music magazine. 10 smashing pop songs, topped with the outro You'll Never Walk Alone sung by Liverpool fans. The album is allthrough consistent and the clean, sharp production gives the album a modern sound. The lyrics often display the feeling of "them-against-the-world" and has been critizied as "mere posing", and they are in fact in various passages juvenile and simplified. But the strength is in their sense of rhythm and beat. The definitive dance album of the new millenium.
Just before New Year's Evening, 2005, TTA released a remix on Embassy's Some Indulgence, called Now That's What I Call Indulgence, through their web page. Rumours tell the duo might release a new EP in spring, 2006.
The Tough Alliance can, in many ways, be seen as one of the absolutely most important Swedish indie-bands ever. Not only did they create two camps of Swedish indie communities, they did also redefine the electronical music of the new century. Duo's playing disco or dancehall consisting of two young, perfectly stlyed men popped up every where; Le Sport, Three Is A Crowd, Lo-Fi-Fnk, Gentle Touch, Harlem, Unarmed Enemies and Tillmanns are just a few examples. Although TTA certainly wasn't the first (Embassy, Knife and Radio Dept. were already superstars), their impact can't be denied. They are the new superstars on the Swedish pop and electronical scene