Stars & $ Signs. King Tuff, King Tuff.

Enigmatic (his face is at least obscured by some luminous expression usually etched into the reverse of any old ecstasy tablet in an iconic recent press-cum-webcam shot) Sub Pop truant King Tuff hath returned with a record capable of dislodging even the derrière of J. Mascis from the revered throne the label they share has come to represent from a bleary-eyed, muffle-eared perspective.

Rubbing up against the grain and most probably going on to arouse, this eponymous opus is Tuff's second collection of scruffy stuff that's styled, anything but unexpectedly, as something really rather similar in sound and shape to Mascis' seminal Dinosaur Jr. footprint: the crusty blues drawl of Stranger or the crunchy lollop of Anthem could convincingly be tacked onto the extortionate bumper reissue of any which record next elected for such canonisation. Of course it's not all eulogy and encomium as the ingenuous lull of Baby Just Break – on which Tuff explicitly articulates what we'd all thought yet never feared in that he "sure as hell don't give a shit" – proves a tad tedious although otherwise there's the excavating of several unabashedly brilliant, scuffed up pop nuggets in progress here. Don hardhats and run headlong into the endearingly scrappy Loser's Wall and you'll be seeing stars, retinal stripes and moderate $ signs whilst the Dylan-esque croaks of Swamp of Love inhabit a slushy quagmire of tender guitars, rhythmic lethargy and a plodding piano that sounds as though Johnnie Fingers may be sat behind its pristine keys.

There are evident elements that intimate a greater deftness for pop reconstitution than mere referencing however as Hit & Run seems to shamelessly acquire bits and bobs from Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel's insufferable Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me), and Stupid Superstar is splattered in the variegated chart-gazumping confusion of the lamentably recently recollected Stone Roses. A conceivable criticism of King Tuff may be its inability to resist the obvious restiveness of its both promotionally faceless and conventionally nameless creator but when a decidedly systematic stylisation is settled upon – as with the irresistibly buoyant, hazy highlight of this periodically trifling bundler Alone & Stoned – he's one heck of a scruff bag worth flicking a glinting dime in the general direction of...